Judge sides with Paramount on some claims in Warner Bros. ‘South Park’ streaming lawsuit

A judge on Tuesday sided with Paramount Global on certain claims after Warner Bros. Discovery sued earlier this year over streaming rights to long-running animated series “South Park.”

New York state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan said that Paramount did not violate state consumer protection laws after its streaming platform, Paramount+, hosted “South Park” specials. The decision follows a February lawsuit, where Warner alleged that Paramount deceptively withheld the specials and other “South Park” content to bolster Paramount+ offerings.

Paramount did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment, while Warner Bros. declined to comment on the matter.

Warner paid $500 million to Paramount in 2019 for the rights to the over-20-season back catalogue of “South Park” episodes to stream on HBO Max, which is now known as Max. Paramount proposed sharing the rights between each of the company’s streaming platforms at the time, which Warner rejected. The series is a staple of Paramount’s Comedy Central channel.

Paramount would later release “South Park: Post Covid” in 2021 and “South Park: The Streaming Wars” in 2022, exclusively on Paramount+. The releases triggered the lawsuit, in which Warner is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars. Warner also alleged that Paramount caused it to overpay under the agreement.

Paramount countersued in April, seeking $50 million in unpaid fees from Warner and denying allegations that the company breached the agreement. The counterclaim would later be dismissed by Chan in October, ruling that Paramount did not make false statements in its description of specials in the original 2019 agreement.

Warner also alleged in its suit that Paramount’s conduct misled customers and created confusion over which streaming platform had rights to the animated series.

Chan threw out this claim by Warner on Tuesday and said the allegation was merely a “private contract dispute” and did “not harm consumers.” Chan added that the complaint or materials offered by Warner failed to prove “deceptive practices” by Paramount.

Warner’s claims of breach of contract, tortuous interference and unjust enrichment are still in play.

Chan ordered a preliminary conference between the two parties on Dec. 13.

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