Michael Kump is a problem solver who fights tenaciously to protect his clients’ valuable intellectual property and contractual rights. Representing plaintiffs and defendants in a broad and sophisticated litigation practice for over thirty-five years, Mr. Kump has extensive experience and success inside and outside the courtroom in all aspects of intellectual property, entertainment, contract, trade secrets, and antitrust litigation and counseling. In selecting Mr. Kump to their list of the Top 100 lawyers in California whose work has changed the law, an industry, or society, The Daily Journal, California’s premier legal publication, stated:
“Whether he’s with them or against them, Hollywood’s A-listers have seen firsthand how effectively Michael Kump litigates cases.”
Mr. Kump represents a wide array of corporate and individual clients, including William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment, the Kardashian and Jenner sisters, MRC (Media Rights Capital), Skydance Media LLC, Live Nation Entertainment, HBO Latin America, Whalerock Industries, Sandra Bullock, Barbra Streisand, Jessica Simpson, Michael Keaton, Seth MacFarlane and Shaquille O’Neal, amongst others.
Mr. Kump has received numerous professional recognitions and awards, including:
- Named every year for the past several years to the two most prestigious lists of leading lawyers in the media and entertainment industry: “The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 100 Power Lawyers” and “Variety’s Legal Impact Report.”
- Recognized for the past several years by Chambers USA in the field of Media & Entertainment Litigation, considered the most prestigious rankings in the legal profession due to their rigorous peer-review process.
- Named for 2021 by U.S. News & World Report’s The Best Lawyers in America as “Lawyer of the Year” in Litigation – Intellectual Property (Los Angeles).
- Named in 2020 by The Los Angeles Business Journal to its list of “Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Lawyers.“
- Named in 2019 to The Daily Journal’s prestigious “Top 100” list, honoring the leading lawyers in California whose work has changed the law, an industry, or society.
- Named in 2019 and 2018 by The Los Angeles Business Journal to its list of the Top Litigators in Los Angeles.
- Named in 2017 by The Daily Journal to its prestigious list of the Top Intellectual Property Lawyers in California.
- Selected to the “2016 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America,” an honor also bestowed upon him in 2011.
- Recognized annually in U.S. News & World Report’s The Best Lawyers in America
- Recognized annually as a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine.
The Management Group (TMG)
- In one of the highest profile cases in the entertainment business, Mr. Kump represented The Management Group (TMG) and its principals, who provide business management services to high-profile individuals and companies in the entertainment business. When TMG started to foreclose on a secured loan to their former long-time client, actor Johnny Depp, Depp filed a lawsuit in state court in Los Angeles concerning TMG’s representation of him. Mr. Kump responded by filing a highly publicized cross-complaint against Depp for fraud and breach of contract. The matter, which was heavily litigated for over 18 months, received international attention, and Mr. Kump was quoted extensively, including in The Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC News and Paris Match, among other publications. All of the lawsuits were dismissed on the eve of trial. (John C. Depp, II, et al v. The Mandel Company, Inc., dba The Management Group, et al, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC 646882.)
The Kardashian and Jenner Sisters, and Kris Jenner
Mr. Kump has represented Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and their manager and mother, Kris Jenner, in a variety of public and confidential matters, including litigation in state and federal court, and arbitration:
- Representing Kourtney, Kim and Khloe in three related state and federal actions and an arbitration filed in Los Angeles involving a hedge fund and its beauty company subsidiary concerning the operation of a cosmetics company to whom the Kardashians licensed their names and images. Mr. Kump and his colleagues won a preliminary injunction in federal court ordering the hedge fund and its subsidiary to stop selling products using the Kardashians’ names and likenesses, a ruling which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on May 26, 2017. (2Die4Kourt et al v. Hillair Capital Mgmt LLC et al, 2016 WL 4487895 (C.D. Cal.), aff’d, 2017 WL 2304376 (9th Cir.).) The three-member arbitration panel, after two weeks of live testimony, entered their Final Award, which held that: (i) the Kardashians recover approximately $12 million in damages and interest; and (ii) rejecting Hillair’s claims for $180 million in damages. The Kardashians thereafter filed their motion to confirm the arbitration award, which was granted by the Los Angeles Superior Court.
- Represented Kourtney, Kim and Khloe in a trademark infringement action filed against them in federal court in Orlando by the foreign distributor of a Florida-based cosmetics company, seeking over $20 million in connection with their endorsement of a cosmetics line. The District Court granted the Kardashians’ motion for summary judgment filed by Mr. Kump and his team, and entered judgment in favor of the Kardashians. (Kroma Makeup EU, LLC v. Boldface Licensing + Branding, Inc., et al, 264 F.Supp.3d 1294 (M.D.Fla. 2017).). The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a published unanimous opinion, affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Kardashians. (Kroma Makeup EU, LLC v. Boldface Licensing + Branding, Inc., et al, 920 F.3d 704 (11th Cir. 2019).) Thereafter, the United States Supreme Court denied Kroma’s petition for certiorari, thus ending this several year saga in favor of the Kardashians.
- Represented Kendall who was sued in an adversary action filed in United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York by the Trustee in connection with the Fyre Festival, seeking to recover the promotional fee earned by and paid to Kendall. The matter was resolved and the action dismissed.
- Represented Kim in a trademark and right of publicity action filed in federal court in Los Angeles against the “fast fashion” company Missguided, which sells clothing throughout the world on its website using without permission Kim’s trademarked name and likeness for promotional purposes. When defendants did not appear to defend themselves, Mr. Kump asked the court to enter a default judgment. The District Court granted the motion and entered a judgment in favor of Kim and her company in the amount of $2,700,000 plus attorneys’ fees. (Kimsaprincess, Inc. and Kim Kardashian West v. Missguided USA (Finance), Inc., et al, USDC Case No. 2:19-cv-01258-VAP.)
- Represented Kim and her company Kimsaprincess, Inc. in an action filed in federal court in Los Angeles for copyright and trademark infringement, and violation of her right of publicity, against an Alabama doctor and his trade association for using her name and likeness without authorization in order to promote the so-called “Vampire Facial” procedure. The action was favorably resolved, including the entry of a stipulated Judgment and permanent injunction against defendants. (Kimsaprincess, Inc. and Kim Kardashian West v. Charles Runels, et al, USDC Case No. 2:19-cv-10415-CBM.)
- Represented Kim’s corporation (Kimsaprincess Inc.) in a trademark infringement action filed in federal court in Chicago by a makeup artist who has developed and sold a line of beauty products, concerning Kim’s cosmetics brand “KKW Beauty.” On October 30, 2017, the federal judge in Chicago granted defendant Kimsaprincess Inc.’s motion to transfer the action to the federal court in Los Angeles, which was filed by Mr. Kump and his team. (Kirsten Kjaer Weis v. Kimsaprincess Inc., 296 F.Supp.3d 926 (N.D.Ill. 2017).) After the conclusion of discovery and the filing of a summary judgment motion by Mr. Kump and his team, the action was dismissed in November 2018.
- Represented Khloe in a copyright infringement filed in federal court in Los Angeles concerning the posting of photographs on her social media sites.
- Represented Kendall, one of the world’s most famous supermodels, in an action filed in federal court in Los Angeles against the creator and distributor of a laser treatment product for trademark infringement and violation of Kendall’s right of publicity, arising out of defendant’s unauthorized use of Kendall’s name and likeness to advertise defendant’s laser products. (Kendall Jenner, Inc., et al v. Cutera, Inc., USDC Case No. 2:16-cv-00936-JAK.)
- Represented Kris in a copyright infringement and breach of implied contract (idea theft) action filed against her in federal court in Los Angeles. The action was filed by the creator of a video game who alleged that the concept for a Kardashian video game had been presented to Kris, who allegedly shared the information with the company that launched a highly popular app for Kim Kardashian. In response to a motion to dismiss, plaintiff dismissed the federal action and filed a state court action, which was subsequently dismissed.
- Represented the Kardashian and Jenner sisters in the termination of their licensing agency, Agency for Performing Arts (APA), and the related litigation in state court in Los Angeles.
- Represented Kourtney, Kim and Khloe in a proposed class action filed in federal court in New York concerning the weight loss products sold under the QuickTrim brand, which the Kardashians endorsed. The plaintiffs, who were purchasers of certain QuickTrim products, sued the manufacturer and distributor of the products for alleged false advertising, and included the Kardashians in the lawsuit. The action was subsequently dismissed. (Andeia Cowan, et al v. Windmill Health Products, LLC, et al, USDC, SDNY Case No. 1:12-cv-1541-VM.)
- Represented Kim when she ended up in the middle of a lawsuit between TRIA Beauty, the company for which she endorsed an at-home laser hair removal product, and TRIA’s competitor, Radiancy, Inc. TRIA sued Radiancy in federal court in San Francisco for false advertising and Lanham Act violations. Radiancy then filed counterclaims against TRIA, and also sued Kim for false advertising for repeating TRIA’s advertising claims. After discovery and motion practice, the case against Kim was dismissed. (Tria Beauty, Inc. v. Radiancy, Inc., and Counterclaims, USDC, N.D.Cal. Case No. CV-10-5030-RS.)
- Represented Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Kris in an action filed in Fresno County Superior Court. The Kardashians had signed a contract with a company that specialized in debit card programs to endorse a debit card called the “Kardashian Kard.” When the card launched, it was criticized by consumer advocates and the financial press because of the financial fees built into the card. After the Kardashians terminated the contract, the company filed this lawsuit seeking $75 million for breach of contract. The complaint alleged the Kardashians publicized the termination of the contract, which caused the company to go out of business. Mr. Kump filed an anti-SLAPP motion to have the complaint dismissed on the ground the debit card company was seeking to hold the Kardashians liable for exercising their right of free speech on a matter of public interest. Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton agreed, and granted the motion filed by Mr. Kump and awarded attorneys’ fees to the Kardashians (The Revenue Resource Group, et al v. Dash Dolls, et al, Fresno County Superior Court Case No. 11-CE-CG-00058.). For more information, read the article from The Hollywood Reporter and Judge Hamilton’s opinion.
William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment
Mr. Kump for several years has represented William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment, and then Endeavor, is a variety of litigations in state and federal court, and in arbitration matters. For example:
- Mr. Kump represented defendant WME in an action for breach of fiduciary duty filed in state court in Los Angeles by former WME clients. The Court granted WME’s motion to stay the action pending the outcome of certain proceedings filed in New York.
- For over two years, Mr. Kump represented defendant WME in an action filed in federal court in Los Angeles concerning the hit Fox television series, “New Girl.” The action was filed by two screenwriters who submitted copies of their screenplay “Square One” to talent agents at Endeavor Talent Agency (which merged with William Morris to become WME Entertainment). Plaintiffs allege that the agents provided the screenplay to various individuals, including Elizabeth Meriwether, the creator of the TV series “New Girl” which premiered on Fox. Plaintiffs filed this action for copyright infringement and breach of implied contract (idea theft) against WME and other defendants (mostly Fox entities plus the series’ creator and executive producer).
United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the idea theft claim and dismissed the claim with prejudice. The Court held that the writers’ idea theft claim is barred by the statute of limitations, and that the writers failed to allege any facts that would excuse them from timely filing the claim. See Judge Wilson’s ruling.
After the close of discovery, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ copyright infringement claim. Judge Wilson issued a 24-page ruling granting defendants’ motion and terminating the action. See Judge Wilson’s ruling. At the conclusion of his ruling, Judge Wilson held that: “Plaintiffs have not introduced evidence demonstrating a triable issue of fact regarding Defendants’ access to Square One. Moreover, even assuming arguendo that a triable issue of access exists, no reasonable jury could conclude that there are substantial similarities in the plot, sequence of events, characters, mood, pace, setting, theme, or dialogue between Square One and New Girl.”
Judge Wilson also granted WME’s motion for attorneys’ fees, awarding over $220,000 to Mr. Kump’s clients. See Judge Wilson’s ruling.
- Representing Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock in a high profile action filed in November 2019 in Los Angeles County Superior Court against affiliate marketing companies that have been using her name and likeness without authorization to sell beauty products. Ellen DeGeneres is also a plaintiff (represented by her own counsel). The case has been widely reported including in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. (Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres v. John DOE 1-100, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. 19STCV40025.)
Media Rights Capital (MRC)
- From 2008 to the present, Mr. Kump has represented MRC, a leading television and film studio that specializes in the creation of content in partnership with the industry’s foremost creative talent, in a variety of litigation and counseling matters involving cutting edge intellectual property and contract issues.
- Represented defendant MRC in a trademark infringement action filed in federal court in Boston, in which plaintiff alleged that MRC’s popular television series “House of Cards” and related gambling slot machines and memorabilia infringed upon plaintiff’s trademark.
- Representing MRC and all other defendants in a copyright infringement action filed by a screenwriter who claimed the motion picture Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster infringed the copyright in his screenplay. Mr. Kump represents MRC, the financier and producer of the film, along with Neill Blomkamp, the Oscar-nominated writer/director of the hit film District 9 who wrote and directed Elysium, and a major motion picture studio that distributed the film, among others. United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California issued a 32-page ruling granting KWIKA’s motion for summary judgment and denying the screenwriter’s motion for summary judgment. The Court found that “while there might be some superficial similarities between the two works, a close examination of the screenplay and the film reveals many significant differences and few real similarities among the protectable elements.” Based on its ruling, the Court entered judgment in favor of defendants and dismissed the action. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari (Briggs v. Blomkamp, et al, 70 F.Supp.3d 1155 (N.D.Cal. 2014), aff’d, 714 Fed. Appx. 712 (9th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 S.Ct. 233 (2018).)
- Represented an MRC entity in both federal and state court for two years concerning MRC’s payment to the Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust for the exclusive rights to the short story Adjustment Team written by the late Philip K. Dick, which was the basis for MRC’s successful film The Adjustment Bureau. MRC alleged that the Trust had breached representations and warranties that the Trust owned the exclusive world copyright rights in the underlying story because, in fact, the underlying story had fallen into the public domain in the U.S. and most foreign territories. Mr. Kump on behalf of MRC filed a complaint in federal court for declaratory relief, after which the parties amicably resolved their dispute.
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.
- Represented Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hofesh, Inc., in a trademark infringement action filed against Hofesh in federal court in Los Angeles by the owner of the HAPPY PLACE trademark. Hofesh is the producer of a multi-sensory pop-up art exhibit called “Happy Place.” This matter was dismissed in July 2019. (Happy Place, Inc. v. Hofesh, LLC, et al, USDC Case No. 2:18-cv-06915-ODW.)
- In 2018, represented actress, singer, and fashion designer Jessica Simpson, along with her parents and her corporation, who were sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court for breach of an alleged 10% finder’s fee agreement in connection with the $120 million sale of Jessica’s company in 2015. Mr. Kump filed a cross-complaint for fraudulent concealment against plaintiff and his business partner. With a jury trial set to commence on December 4, 2018, all of the lawsuits were dismissed in October 2018. (Jeffrey Bowler v. The Jessica Simpson Collection, et al, and Cross-Complaint, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC 591050.)
- Represented Jamie McCourt, then owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in her marital dissolution action filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Frank McCourt took the position that he was the sole owner of the Dodgers based upon a marital property agreement signed by the couple. During discovery, Mr. Kump and Jamie’s legal team discovered that the couple actually signed two versions of the marital property agreement, one of which preserved Jamie’s marital property rights in the Dodgers, and one of which did not. After an eleven-day bench trial, the Honorable Scott M. Gordon set aside the marital property agreement, finding that it was not valid or enforceable. As a result of the ruling, all of the couple’s assets acquired during their marriage, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, were presumed under California law to be community property. Mr. Kump’s achievements in the McCourt trial were recognized by the Daily Journal, the leading legal newspaper in California, in “Top Plaintiffs’ Verdicts by Impact 2010.” Published annually, the Daily Journal‘s list is a selection of Top Verdicts throughout the year, highlighting those cases with outstanding results.
- For over two years, Mr. Kump represented Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton in a lawsuit filed against him in federal court in Chicago in connection with the motion picture The Merry Gentleman. Keaton starred in and made his directorial debut in the independent film which garnered widespread praise from critics when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and when it was released in theaters. Nevertheless, years later, one of the investors in the film filed a breach of contract action against Keaton, alleging that Keaton’s breaches of his Directing Agreement caused the investor to lose his investment. After conducting discovery for several months, Mr. Kump and his team filed a motion for summary judgment which established that Keaton’s performance as director did not cause the film to underperform at the box office.
United States District Judge Gary Feinerman in Chicago agreed and granted KWIKA’s motion in an 18-page published opinion. The District Court ruled that plaintiff failed to show that a reasonable jury could find a causal connection between Keaton’s alleged breaches and plaintiff’s claimed monetary losses. Plaintiff appealed the dismissal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Mr. Kump argued the appeal to the three-Judge panel consisting of Seventh Circuit Judges William J. Bauer, Ilana Rovner and David F. Hamilton. The appellate panel issued its unanimous opinion affirming summary judgment for Keaton and dismissing the action against Keaton. In his written opinion, Circuit Judge Hamilton asked: “Who can say why a critically praised movie did not make money?” Hamilton wrote: “no reasonable trier of fact could find that Merry Gentleman lost its entire investment of $5.5 million because Keaton failed to submit his first cut on time or failed to publicize the movie better. Merry Gentleman entered the directing contract to have Keaton deliver a finished movie, and he delivered one that showed well at Sundance and won some critical praise. The breaches by Keaton that Merry Gentleman alleges cannot reasonably be said to have rendered the investment completely worthless.”
Both The Hollywood Reporter and the National Law Journal, among others, wrote about KWIKA’s victory. Mr. Kump told the National Law Journal: “We’re very pleased with this victory. Michael directed a film which received critical praise at both the Sundance Film Festival and in the national media when released, and he put his heart and soul into making this movie. We’re glad this is finally over.” (Merry Gentleman LLC v. George and Leona Productions, Inc. and Michael Keaton, 76 F.Supp.3d 756 (N.D.Ill. 2014), aff’d, 799 F.3d 827 (7th Cir. 2015).)
Prior to Starz’s acquisition by Lionsgate, Mr. Kump for several years represented Starz, a media and entertainment company that produces and Mr. Kump filed actions in federal and federal court to protect and enforce Starz’s copyright and contractual rights. For example:
- Mr. Kump filed an action in Colorado state court on behalf of Starz against DISH Network LLC for breach of contract when DISH, without Starz’s permission, provided Starz’s premium programming free of charge for an entire year to over 10 million DISH customers. Starz sought damages against DISH of over $100 million because DISH’s “give-away” of Starz’s channels breached the parties’ Affiliation Agreement. The jury trial was conducted in Colorado state court with Mr. Kump serving as lead trial counsel for Starz. During the second week of the jury trial, the parties reached a settlement of all claims brought by Starz against DISH.
- FX Network LLC filed an action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against DISH and Starz for intentional interference with contractual relations based upon DISH’s “free” give-away of Starz’s premium programming. Mr. Kump defended Starz in FX’s action and defeated FX’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The action against Starz was subsequently dismissed.
- Mr. Kump filed an action on behalf of Starz when a Disney subsidiary began permitting Internet services, such as Apple’s iTunes, to sell Disney Pictures that had been exclusively licensed to Starz (see Complaint). Mr. Kump and his team filed a motion for partial summary judgment, which asked the Court to interpret the parties’ license agreements as prohibiting the conduct at issue (see Motion). The Court granted Starz’s motion and adopted Starz’s interpretation of the parties’ contracts (see Order). The action was resolved on the eve of trial.
- Represents Whalerock, an independent media/technology company, which creates, distributes and produces premium content and brands in digital, television and feature film across all platforms throughout the world, in a variety of litigation and counseling matters involving cutting edge intellectual property and contract issues.
- Represented Lloyd Braun, co-founder and co-owner of entertainment powerhouse BermanBraun, in the transaction that resulted in Braun becoming the sole owner of the company, now known as Whalerock Industries. Braun is recognized as an innovator in traditional and new media, having served as President of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, followed by several years at Disney/ABC where he served as Chairman of ABC Entertainment Television Group, after which he served as the head of Yahoo! Media Group before founding BermanBraun in 2007.
- Represented NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal who was sued by an alleged former business associate. Mr. Kump removed the action to federal court and filed a motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit on the ground it was time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Plaintiff countered that the statute of limitations had been tolled by a California statute (section 351) because Shaq lived outside the state of California from the time the causes of action accrued. Mr. Kump’s motion argued, however, that the statute cannot be constitutionally applied in this case because the unreasonable burden it would impose on interstate commerce violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
- United States District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen granted Mr. Kump’s motion and dismissed the entire action with prejudice, finding that “the burden on interstate commerce imposed by section 351 outweighs the articulated state interest in this case, and the application of section 351 to toll the statute of limitations on Plaintiff’s claims would violate the commerce clause.” (For more information, read Judge Nguyen’s opinion.) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Nguyen’s ruling, finding that “The burden on interstate commerce as applied to O’Neal is substantial and the countervailing interest is minimal. Application of section 351 in this case would offend the Commerce Clause and [plaintiff’s] suit was properly dismissed because it was untimely.” (See Ninth Circuit opinion).
Additional Representative Media, Entertainment and Intellectual Property Matters
- Represented a diverse group of entertainment and media clients, including Skydance Media LLC, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Prana Studios, Inc., in a variety of confidential matters that ended successfully for Mr. Kump’s clients.
- Represented well-known Hollywood producer Salim Akil in an action in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging inter alia idea theft. (Amber Dixon Brenner v. Salim Akil, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 18STCV05673.) The action was dismissed after discovery.
- Represented for several years Greg Garrison, the longtime producer, director and part owner of the Dean Martin television shows, and his Executor and Trustee (after his death), in several disputes and lawsuits over the rights to the shows, including two separate copyright infringement actions in federal court and three separate civil actions in state court. One of the state actions filed by Mr. Garrison’s heirs alleged they should be awarded an interest in valuable property based upon an alleged forged agreement. After a six day trial handled by Mr. Kump, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reva Goetz ruled in favor of Mr. Kump’s client (see Court’s opinion).
- Represented the renowned cartoonist and screenwriter Daniel Clowes in connection with the actions by actor Shia LaBeouf, whose short film exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival infringed Mr. Clowes’ published comic. The matter was resolved without Mr. Clowes filing an action for copyright infringement.
- Represented Mark Koops in a confidential arbitration against Reveille Independent LLC. Mr. Koops was the co-creator and an executive producer of NBC’s television hit series “The Biggest Loser” and was for many years a Managing Director of Reveille.
- Represented the entertainment law firm Ziffren Brittenham when a third party sought to discover financial information concerning the firm’s clients. Mr. Kump obtained an important ruling for the law firm in the California Court of Appeal that barred the discovery on the grounds that it invaded the clients’ constitutionally-guaranteed right to privacy.
Trade Secrets Litigation
- Over the past decade, Mr. Kump has served as West Coast litigation counsel for USI – a diversified insurance and financial services firm that is the eighth-largest insurance brokerage in the United States – in numerous misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition actions filed throughout California against insurance producers who left to join competing firms. In these actions, Mr. Kump obtained injunctive relief to protect USI’s trade secrets and to enforce USI’s restrictive covenants, which resulted in the cases settling on favorable terms for USI. Mr. Kump also counsels USI on a broad range of trade practice issues, including trade secret protection and the enforceability of contractual covenants governing competition.
Film & Television Profit Participants Litigation
Mr. Kump has successfully represented profit participants in several matters against studios and television and film companies to recover monies contractually owed to his clients.
- For three years, Mr. Kump represented the writers and producers of the award winning television series “Smallville” in an action filed in state court in Los Angeles against the vertically-integrated media conglomerate Time Warner. The action was amicably resolved and dismissed. (Killara Productions, Inc., et al v. Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC 434445.)
- Mr. Kump represented the creators of the award winning animated television comedy “King of the Hill” against Twentieth Century Fox Television in a matter resolved prior to the filing of litigation.
- Mr. Kump represented the creator (Nia Vardalos) and the executive producers (Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman) of the film hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” in an action filed in state court in Los Angeles against the film’s studio and production companies. The action was amicably resolved and dismissed. (Clavius Base, Inc., et al v. Big Wedding Productions, Inc., et al, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC 375442.)
Representative Appellate Cases
Throughout his career, Mr. Kump has handled a number of complex and diverse appellate matters in both the state and federal appellate courts.
- Most recently, Mr. Kump led a legal team that prevailed in an international child custody battle waged in the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District in Fresno. The Court agreed with the arguments presented by Mr. Kump and his team, ruling in favor of their clients and summarily denying Petitioners’ request for an emergency stay and reversal of the trial court’s orders in an international child custody case. (Fatema Ezzuddin v. Ibrahim Qaidjoher Ezzuddin, California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, Case No. F071165.)
Petitioners were two sisters married to two men who are cousins; together, the two couples have nine minor children that were born and raised in Mumbai, India. The families are members of a religious faith which is several hundred years old and has over a million followers worldwide. When their spiritual leader died, a succession dispute arose, which caused a rift between the two sisters and their husbands. The sisters took their nine children and flew them from Mumbai to Bakersfield, California without the fathers’ knowledge or consent. Shortly after arriving, the sisters filed a motion in the Kern County Superior Court seeking temporary restraining orders against their husbands and seeking custody orders related to the minor children. After a trial, the trial court rejected the sisters’ claims of domestic violence and ordered the return of the children to the fathers’ custody.
Mr. Kump was brought in by the fathers’ family law attorney to handle the subsequent proceedings in the Court of Appeal. The sisters filed a request for an emergency stay in the Court of Appeal, and also sought orders reversing the trial court’s custody ruling in favor of the fathers. Mr. Kump and his team sprang into action and only 48 hours after the sisters filed several briefs and voluminous exhibits, the KWIKA team filed a 45-page opposition with the Court of Appeal. Just 24 hours later, the Court of Appeal summarily denied all requests for relief by the sisters. As a result, the children with their fathers returned to their close-knit community in Mumbai, India, where they had been born and raised before being uprooted.
Merle Norman Cosmetics Litigation
- For fifteen years, Mr. Kump represented Merle Norman Cosmetics, a national franchisor of cosmetics studios, in several federal and state actions covering a broad array of claims. After years of multi-state discovery, Mr. Kump successfully represented plaintiff Merle Norman in a four-week civil RICO and fraud trial filed in New York federal court against an advertising company. The presentation of Merle Norman’s case involved the testimony of eighteen witnesses and over 700 exhibits presented digitally. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded a multi-million-dollar verdict to Merle Norman. (Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc. v. Clipper Magazine, Inc., et al, USDC, EDNY Case No. 98 Civ. 2327-DRH.)
Antitrust Litigation and Counseling
- Mr. Kump’s practice encompasses antitrust litigation and counseling. Mr. Kump successfully represented defendant Courtside LLC in an antitrust action filed in federal court in Los Angeles. Courtside produces and finances multi-platform, quality programming and is the radio home for high profile personalities. In this action, independent producers of news and talk radio programs alleged that lead defendant Dial Global, Inc. monopolized certain markets in the radio programming industry, and that as part of this antitrust conspiracy, Courtside interfered with plaintiffs’ contracts with certain radio personalities. Mr. Kump and his team filed a motion to dismiss the tort claims against Courtside for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, which United States District Judge Jesus Bernal granted and dismissed all claims against Courtside. (The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., et al v. Dial Global, Inc., et al, USDC Case No. CV-12-7370-JGB.)
- For over ten years, Mr. Kump successfully represented Merle Norman in a series of related state and federal actions, defending the company against alleged violations of the Sherman and Clayton Acts, while prosecuting the company’s trademark and Lanham Act claims. (Acton v. Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc., 163 F.3d 605 (9th Cir. 1998) (Table, Text in WL, No. 97-56269); Acton v. Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc., 1995-1 CCH Trade Cases 71,025 (C.D. Cal. 1995); Acton v. Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc., 1994-2 CCH Trade Cases 70,784 (C.D. Cal. 1984); Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Ct., Cent. Dist. of Cal., 856 F.2d 98 (9th Cir. 1988).) During this litigation, Mr. Kump successfully defended the company in a five-week jury trial on antitrust issues and in a bench trial on causation and damages, while also recovering favorable settlements in two bad faith actions brought against the company’s insurers.
- Mr. Kump represented International E-Z Up, Inc., the originator and manufacturer of instant portable canopies, against antitrust counterclaims filed in the company’s patent infringement case. After creating and implementing a targeted discovery plan, Mr. Kump brought a motion for summary judgment, which the federal court granted in a published opinion. (Carter v. Variflex, Inc., 101 F.Supp.2d 1261 (C.D. Cal. 2000).)
Admissions, Memberships & Qualifications
California State Bar (Member, 1981)
- United States District Courts of Arizona, California, Colorado, and Northern Illinois
- Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, the Second Circuit, the Seventh Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Supreme Court
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) (Board of Governors, 2002-2007)
Publications & Speaking Engagements
Mr. Kump has spoken and written extensively, and been quoted in leading newspapers and periodicals, on current topics in his areas of expertise.
- Mr. Kump spoke to 250 attorneys attending the 2019 Winter Leadership Meeting of the American Bar association (ABA) Section of Litigation at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. The topic was “Representing Talent in Today’s Entertainment Industry,” and covered several topics, including handling high profile matters and the impact of the #MeToo issues on the industry.
- Mr. Kump was a member of a panel that spoke on the topic: Celebrity Law, Tech, and PR: Legal Ethics in News and Social Media, at the Relativity Fest 2017 conference in Chicago, Illinois.
- Mr. Kump has spoken on several occasions to law students at The University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and to undergraduate students at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, on current trends and careers in entertainment law.
- The Daily Journal legal newspaper published an article by Mr. Kump entitled “Beware of Inadvertent Production of Privileged Documents” in its section on Professional Responsibility. Mr. Kump’s article discusses recent developments in California case and statutory law concerning the duties and obligations of attorneys who receive documents in discovery that might be privileged.
- Mr. Kump spoke at the Produced By Conference sponsored by the Producers Guild of America, which was held at 20th Century Fox Studios. Mr. Kump was featured with three other entertainment luminaries in a panel session titled “Are You Getting Your Fair Share? – Producer Share Participations: ‘The Dream Team,’” which provided conference attendees with valuable lessons on how to maximize value from a producer share participation arrangement. A portion of his talk is available on YouTube.
- Mr. Kump gave an evening presentation entitled “Lessons From the McCourt Case Regarding Post-Nuptial Agreements” to the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
- For several years, Mr. Kump was a regular speaker on “Recent Developments in Contract Litigation” at the annual CLE Int’l Film and Television Law Conference.
- CIO published its interview with Mr. Kump on intellectual protection and trade secret protection in the employment arena.
- Mr. Kump presented an audio teleconference for 150 human resources professionals sponsored by the Employer Resources Institute on “Noncompete Agreements: California Supreme Court Sounds Death Knell for Noncompetes: What Employers Should Do Now to Protect Themselves.”
- Other representative articles by Mr. Kump include the following: “Businesses Should Pursue Nonacceptance Injunctions,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Feb. 24, 2004, p. 7; “The Rule of Proportionality in Civil RICO Suits,” Los Angeles Lawyer, Dec. 2002, Vol. 25, No. 9, p. 12; “New Amendments Give Losing Party Another Bite at the Apple,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Dec. 3, 2002, p. 7; “The Reasonable Particularity Requirement in Trade Secret Actions,” ABTL Report, Fall 2002, Vol. XXV, No. 1., p. 10; “Businesses Shouldn’t Rely on Nonacceptance Provisions,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Aug. 29. 2002, p. 7.
- Representative quotations by Mr. Kump include the following: “Suit Against Clear Channel Over Racing Goes to Jury,” New York Times, March 21, 2005; “Clear Channel Loses Case With Rival,” New York Times, March 22, 2005; “Clear Channel Antitrust Probe Continues,” San Antonio Express News, March 22, 2005; “Down in the Dirt,” New York Times, August 30, 2004
Mr. Kump was born and raised in Northfield, Minnesota. He is a graduate of Grinnell College (B.A. 1974, Phi Beta Kappa), The University of Michigan (M.A. in Philosophy, 1976, Ph.D. in Philosophy, 1979), and The University of Michigan School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1981). He also studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and at the Goethe Institut in Freiburg, Germany. Mr. Kump was admitted to the California State Bar in 1981, and is admitted to practice before each of the United States District Courts in the states of Arizona and California, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and for the District of Colorado, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, the Second Circuit, the Seventh Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Supreme Court.