By Austin Siegemund-Broka, The Hollywood Reporter
The couple sued YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley for posting video of their marriage proposal, allegedly in violation of a confidentiality agreement.
Kim Kardashian is keeping up with the efforts to punish YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley for posting Kanye West‘s marriage proposal to her. This week, a California appeals court signaled that it would advance the celebrity couple’s lawsuit.
Kardashian and West sued Hurley in 2013 after video of the marriage proposal popped up on MixBit, Hurley’s follow-up website to YouTube. The plaintiffs claim the posting of the footage violates the confidentiality agreement that Hurley signed to get access to the proposal party.
Hurley is trying his second time to dismiss the lawsuit. He submitted a motion to strike the complaint in 2014 based on California’s SLAPP statute, which protects activity in furtherance of First Amendment rights like free speech from frivolous litigation. In defending the video, Hurley claimed the confidentiality contract was invalid because of a lack of consideration; he says there was nothing gained simply from attending the proposal party. He argued further the video didn’t really constitute “confidential” information, and that it didn’t harm Kardashian and West.
The plaintiffs’ response included a declaration from Kris Jenner, Kardashian’s mother, who said Hurley wasn’t invited to the Oct. 21, 2013, proposal. She argued he benefited from the publicity of attending the event, therefore was bound to the agreement’s confidentiality terms.
In a separate declaration for the plaintiffs, Loyola Marymount University marketing professor David Stewart stated the video financially harmed the couple because the family’s reality show — Keeping Up With The Kardashians — wouldn’t be first to reveal footage of West’s proposal.
Judge Ruth Ann Kwan sided with Kardashian and West in a March 2013 ruling. Hurley’s next step was to appeal.
In a tentative ruling Tuesday, a California state appeals court indicated it would affirm the Los Angeles Superior Court’s decision not to throw out the case. But there’s no written decision yet, so the court could still change its mind.
“We’re hopeful that the California Court of Appeal reverses the finding that Mr. Hurley had any sort of nefarious or fraudulent intent,” says Hurley’s attorney Rodger Cole.
In his appeal papers, Cole largely presented the same defenses he had in the lower court, including that Hurley gained nothing from the contract, and Kardashian and West failed to mitigate damages by not pursuing litigation against TMZ for reposting the video. He also pursued a different angle in court Tuesday — that Hurley isn’t responsible for the contract because he hadn’t read it before signing. He further argued the claims against Avos, Hurley’s company through which he operates MixBit, shouldn’t continue because Hurley attended the event in a private, personal capacity.
Eric George, the couple’s attorney, has a sharp retort to the idea that Hurley could escape the obligations of an agreement simply by saying he didn’t read it.
“My view is the opposite, that there’s no stronger proof that a man doesn’t intend to follow his agreement than where he doesn’t read the agreement,” says George, adding that he’s pleased with the court’s tentative.
Cole tells The Hollywood Reporter the case will likely go to trial if the appellate court adopts its tentative ruling. The ruling is expected in the next month.
Do you think the judge will rule in favor of the YouTube founder or the married couple?