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Joel R. Weiner

Los Angeles – Century City Office

Joel Weiner has more than 20 years of litigation experience representing clients in a wide variety of business disputes, including entertainment matters, contract disputes, business torts, unfair competition, insurance, real estate and intellectual property disputes.

A substantial portion of his practice is focused on representing motion picture studios, television networks, production companies and other institutional media and entertainment companies in copyright, idea submission, profit participation, media law, licensing and distribution disputes. Joel represents some of the world’s most prominent and successful entertainment companies, including NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Telemundo and Reveille, among others. He also represents clients outside of the entertainment industry, such as Verizon Wireless and Aramark Corp. He has extensive experience representing clients in California appellate courts, arbitration and mediation, as well as federal courts throughout the country.

Some of Joel's ongoing and recent matters have included reality shows like Million Dollar DecoratorsThe Biggest Loser and Ghost Hunters, as well as scripted series such as Heroes. Matters outside the entertainment industry have included contract interpretation disputes, real estate investment fraud claims, environmental and land use issues, employment disputes, insurance, consumer class actions and many other areas.

Joel frequently speaks on intellectual property matters related to the entertainment industry, including recent presentations to the Los Angeles Copyright Society and the Los Angeles Chapter of the Media Law and Resource Center.

After law school, Joel served as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Martin Pence, Senior Judge of the US District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Shown below is a selection of Joel’s engagements.

  • Representation of defendants in action alleging copyright infringement and interference with contract regarding the television series Heroes. Prevailed on motion to dismiss and obtained award of attorney's fees in a published opinion. Affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Wild v. NBCUniversal, Inc. et al.
  • Resolution of numerous employment wrongful termination and discrimination claims.
  • Representation of Seth MacFarlane, Media Rights Capital and Universal Studios in a high-profile copyright case. The plaintiff, Bengal Mangle Productions, had alleged in a suit filed in US District Court for the Central District of California in July 2014 that the anthropomorphic teddy bear from the movie Ted was "strikingly similar" to its character, Charlie, a teddy bear from the plaintiff's Web series. Katten successfully obtained stipulation for dismissal of the suit, which cannot be refiled.
  • Representation of defendants in action alleging copyright infringement, violations of the Visual Artists Rights Act, fraud, and breach of contract against network, producers and talent involving the Bravo series Million Dollar Decorators. Successfully opposed motion for preliminary injunction attempting to halt distribution. Eastman v. Bravo Media LLC, et al.
  • Defense of 10 defendants against claims of copyright infringement and breach of implied contact regarding horror film The Unborn. Prevailed on motion for judgment on the pleadings and successfully opposed motion to amend. Segal v. Rogue Pictures, et al.
  • Representation of defendant in action alleging breach of contract, fiduciary duty and accounting by actor Jack Klugman over contingent participation from the series Quincy M.E. Klugman v. Universal City Studios LLP.
  • Representation of certain defendants in an action alleging copyright infringement, breach of implied contract and breach of confidence regarding the series Ghost Hunters, where the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sitting en banc addressed the scope of federal copyright preemption of state law contract claims. Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television, et al.
  • Representation of certain defendants in a copyright infringement action against the network and producers regarding the series The Biggest Loser. Prevailed on motion for summary judgment. Affirmed by Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Latimore v. NBCUniversal, et al.
  • Representation of defendants in an idea theft case involving a song-contest reality television show. Prevailed on motion for summary judgment. Affirmed by California Court of Appeal. Scottish American Media, LLC v. Reveille, LLC, et al.
  • Representation of defendant in multiple court proceedings and arbitration challenging accountings and distribution practices in connection with the motion picture Private School. Successfully opposed challenges to scope of arbitration agreement. Ben-Efraim v. Universal City Studios, et al.
  • Representation of defendants in action alleging music copyright infringement and tort claims regarding telenovela Niños Ricos, Pobres Padres. Prevailed on motion to dismiss foreign production company for lack of personal jurisdiction and motion to strike claims for enhanced damages and attorney's fees under copyright statute. Pintos v. Telemundo Network Group, et al.
  • Successful mediation of confidential settlement of accidental death insurance claim, governed by federal ERISA laws and procedures.
  • Resolution of consumer class action lawsuits against a telecommunications carrier at pleading stages through use of state law demurrers and federal bankruptcy procedures.
  • Representation of defendant in an action alleging fraud and breach of contract for contingent participation brought by actor Kevin Sorbo regarding the series Hercules. Prevailed on motion for summary judgment, including favored nations and 12 contract interpretation and accounting claims. Affirmed by California Court of Appeal. Kevin Sorbo v. Universal City Studios, LLP.
  • Representation of defendants in action alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract in connection with investment counseling services and operation of investment fund. Prevailed on appeal reversing trial court's denial of motion to compel arbitration.


Best Lawyers in America, 2019–2020
Chambers USA, 2014–2019
Super Lawyers, Southern California, 2012–2019
Legal 500, 2016–2019
Variety, Legal Impact Report 2013–2014, 2016

Daily Journal

Daily Journal, 50 Top Entertainment Lawyers, 2014
Law360, MVP – Media & Entertainment, 2015
Firm News
Joel R. Weiner


  • JD, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
  • BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • US District Court, Central District of California
  • US District Court, Eastern District of California
  • US District Court, Northern District of California
  • US District Court, Southern District of California


Best Lawyers in America
Chambers USA
Super Lawyers
Southern California, 2012–2019
Legal 500
Legal Impact Report 2013–2014, 2016

Daily Journal

50 Top Entertainment Lawyers, 2014
MVP – Media & Entertainment, 2015
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  • State Bar of California
  • American Bar Association, ABA Forum on Communications Strategic Planning Committee
  • Hawaii Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Public Counsel, Los Angeles, CA, Board Member
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