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Supreme Court will not hear “Ghost Hunters” implied breach of contract case

Some folks in New Jersey are probably familiar with the television show “Ghost Hunters.” Two individuals say they pitched the idea of the show to NBC Universal and claim the entertainment company ripped them off by using their idea to start the show. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case. NBC Universal petitioned the court to hear the case. One of the claims in the lawsuit is breach of contract.

“Ghost Hunters” is a show on NBC Universal’s Syfy Channel where paranormal investigators check out allegedly haunted houses and properties with infrared cameras and magnometers. A parapsychologist and a publicist say they initially approached NBC Universal with the idea for the show.

According to the pair, they pitched a television series that would follow an investigatory team to supposedly haunted areas. The investigatory team would use various pieces of equipment to scientifically demonstrate the presence of spirits.

The pair say they pitched the show idea to multiple entertainment companies including NBC and its cable channel the Sci-Fi channel. The channel is now called the SyFy Channel.

Two years after “Ghost Hunters” premiered in 2004, the pair filed a complaint against Pilgrim Films & Television, which is the production company that films “Ghost Hunters.” The pair also sued NBC Universal and 10 other defendants in federal court for breach of implied contract, copyright infringement and breach of confidence.

A federal court of appeals found merit to the pair’s case and NBC wanted to challenge the appeal court’s ruling by petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court. NBC had no such luck.

Source: Reuters, “Supreme Court rejects NBCU bid in ‘Ghost Hunters’ rip-off case,” Tim Kenneally, Nov. 7, 2011

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