Mr. Fitzgerald specializes in entertainment and business litigation as well as transactional matters for entertainment industry clients. He has represented actors, producers, writers, showrunners, musicians, professional athletes, production and distribution companies, clients in the fitness, apparel, toy, and gem industries, the entertainment guilds, personal and business managers, and talent agents and agencies.
Mr. Fitzgerald handles disputes in the areas of contract, profit participation and “vertical integration,” financing, distribution, copyright, trademark, trade secrets, partnership, franchise, fraud, rights of privacy, and defamation. He also negotiates and drafts agreements for intellectual property rights holders, entertainment industry executives, writers, producers, independent filmmakers, and unscripted programming creators, among others.
He has written numerous articles on legal issues in the entertainment industry, has appeared on several panels discussing entertainment litigation, and has discussed legal issues in entertainment for media outlets such as The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, E! Online, the Daily Journal, and KPCC’s “Air Talk” radio show. In addition, he has been named as a “Super Lawyer” as well as one of “Hollywood’s New Leaders” by Variety.
Prior to joining KWIKA in 2007, Mr. Fitzgerald worked in the Business and Legal Affairs department of Universal Pictures, negotiating and drafting agreements to acquire intellectual property rights for Universal and engaging talent to render services on Universal films. While at Universal, he also handled above- and below-the-line agreements for films in production and oversaw all of Universal’s agreements with visual and special effects companies. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Chad lives in Westlake Village with his wife and twin sons.
- Represents executive producer of the hit television series Bones in a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Television, the Fox network and affiliated companies. The plaintiff alleges that 20th Century Fox Television cheated him out of his share of profits from the show, and that network executives threatened to cancel the series if he did not accept a lower licensing fee from Fox. The suit is currently pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.
- Represents the creator, writer, and executive producer of the worldwide hit television series The Walking Dead, and leading talent agency CAA, in a suit against the AMC television network. The plaintiffs allege that AMC produced the show and licensed it for broadcast to itself for license fees well below market rates, resulting in diminished profits for the show and its participants. The suit is currently pending in New York.
- Represented the creators, writers, and executive producers of the hit television series Smallville in a suit against Warner Bros. Television (the studio that produced the series), The CW network (the network that broadcast the series) and other Time Warner entities. The plaintiffs alleged that Warner Bros. Television licensed the show for broadcast on its affiliated “sister” network The WB (which later became The CW) for fees well below market rate, resulting in diminished profits for the show.
- Represented Mattel, Inc. in a month-long jury trial regarding a contract dispute.
- Represented Mattel, Inc. before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in a matter regarding the famous “Hot Wheels” toys.
- Represented Mattel, Inc. in federal trademark litigation regarding the famous “He-Man, Masters of the Universe” toys.
- Represented a fitness business consulting firm in federal trademark litigation brought by one of the largest fitness companies in the world.
- Represents national insurance brokerage USI in several disputes regarding trade secrets and solicitation of clients and employees.
- Represents business managers in a lawsuit brought by the ex-wife of Law & Order creator Dick Wolf.
- Represented the showrunner of the hit series Family Guy in a dispute with 20th Century Fox Television regarding profits from the series.
- Represented the creators of the hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in a dispute with NBCUniversal regarding profits from the series.
- Represented television showrunner Chuck Lorre in negotiations for an overall feature film deal with Warner Bros.
- Represented filmmaker Ivan Reitman in negotiating an overall deal with Sony Pictures regarding the “Ghostbusters” franchise.
Admissions, Memberships & Qualifications
- Admitted to practice in California State and Federal Courts
- St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Santa Monica (former President of Congregation Council)
- weSPARK Cancer Support Center, Sherman Oaks (President of Board of Directors)
Honors & Awards
- “Hollywood’s New Leaders: Law & Finance,” Variety (2015)
- “Super Lawyer,” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine (2015-2017)
- “Rising Star,” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)
- “Top 10 Defense Verdicts,” Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal (2007)
- Yale University, B.A. (with distinction in English), 1998
- UCLA School of Law, J.D., 2001