Honors & Awards

  • “The Best Lawyers in America,” Best Lawyers (2021-Present)
  • “Power Lawyers,” The Hollywood Reporter (2019)
  • “Legal Impact Report,” Variety (2019)
  • “Hollywood’s New Leaders: Law & Finance,” Variety (2015)
  • “Super Lawyer,” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine (2015-Present)

Education

  • Yale University, B.A. (with distinction in English), 1998
  • UCLA School of Law, J.D., 2001

Chad Fitzgerald specializes in complex entertainment industry disputes as well as business and intellectual property litigation.  He represents actors, directors, producers, writers, showrunners, musicians, professional athletes, production and distribution companies, clients in the fitness, apparel, toy, and gem industries, the entertainment guilds, talent and business managers, and the major talent agencies. Mr. Fitzgerald specializes in entertainment industry disputes regarding profit participation, “vertical integration,” and distribution (including streaming), and also handles litigation involving copyright, trademark and trade secrets, fraud, rights of privacy, and defamation.

Mr. Fitzgerald has written numerous articles on legal issues in the entertainment industry, regularly appears on panels and seminars discussing entertainment litigation, is frequently quoted in media outlets such as The Hollywood ReporterVariety, Deadline, The Wrap, E! Online, and the Daily Journal, and has taught entertainment law classes at the UCLA School of Law. He has been named a “Power Lawyer” by The Hollywood Reporter, a member of the “Legal Impact Report” and one of “Hollywood’s New Leaders” by Variety, a “Super Lawyer,” and one of the “Best Lawyers in America.” He sits on the Advisory Board for UCLA School of Law’s Ziffren Institute for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.

Chad graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2001. While in law school, he externed for the Honorable J. Spencer Letts of the United District Court, Central District of California, and volunteered with the HIV/AIDS Legal Services Alliance. He graduated, with honors, from Yale University in 1998 with a BA in English. Prior to joining KWIKH in 2007, he worked in the Business and Legal Affairs department of Universal Pictures.  Chad was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, where his family has worked for generations in the gaming industry.

  • Admitted to practice in California State and Federal Courts
  • Ziffren Institute for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law, UCLA School of Law (Board Member)
  • weSPARK Cancer Support Center, Sherman Oaks (Board of Directors)
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Santa Monica (former President of Congregation Council)

Representative Matters

  • Represented the creator, writer, and executive producer of the worldwide hit television series The Walking Dead, and leading talent agency CAA, in a suit against the AMC television network. The plaintiffs alleged that AMC produced the show and licensed it for broadcast to itself for license fees well below market rates, resulting in diminished profits for the show and its participants. After the trial team of Dale Kinsella, Chad, and Aaron Liskin defeated two of AMC’s motions for summary judgment and several key motions in limine, the case settled for $200 million plus future revenue sharing related to streaming exhibition of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.
  • Represented the executive producer of the hit television series Bones in a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Television, the Fox network and affiliated companies. The plaintiff alleged that 20th Century Fox Television cheated him out of his share of profits from the show, and that network executives threatened to cancel the series if he did not accept a lower licensing fee from Fox.  The arbitration resulted in a $179 million award for the plaintiffs. The case settled pending appeal of the award.
  • Represented CAA in a dispute with filmmaker Rian Johnson’s former agent over commissions from Mr. Johnson’s new Star Wars films.
  • Represented a famous director/producer whose blockbuster film was released straight to the studio’s affiliated streaming service rather than theatrically, as contemplated by the parties. The matter settled shortly after Chad and his partner Nick Soltman filed a demand for arbitration with JAMS.
  • Represents the estate of Sam Simon in profit participation audits of Twentieth Century Fox regarding The Simpsons.
  • Represented an independent film producer in a dispute with the foreign financiers.
  • Represented television creator/showrunner Darren Star in a dispute regarding Emily in Paris.
  • Represented the producer of the classic “Spaghetti Westerns” The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and For a Few Dollars More in a lawsuit against MGM for unpaid profits. The case settled shortly after Chad and his partner Nick Soltman defeated MGM’s motion for summary judgment and two of its key motions in limine.
  • Represents national insurance brokerage USI in disputes regarding trade secrets and solicitation of clients and employees. Served as lead trial counsel in a jury trial held in Los Angeles Superior Court against a former USI producer for breaching her duty of loyalty. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client.
  • Represented the creators, writers, and executive producers of the hit television series Smallville in a suit against Warner Bros. Television (the studio that produced the series), The CW network (the network that broadcast the series) and other Time Warner entities. The plaintiffs alleged that Warner Bros. Television licensed the show for broadcast on its affiliated “sister” network The WB (which later became The CW) for fees well below market rate, resulting in diminished profits for the show. The case settled after Chad and his partner Aaron Liskin defeated two Warner Bros. motions for summary judgment.
  • Represented Mattel, Inc. in a month-long jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court regarding a contract dispute; in a hearing before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board regarding the famous “Hot Wheels” toys; and in federal trademark litigation regarding the famous “He-Man, Masters of the Universe” toys.
  • Represented a fitness business consulting firm in federal trademark litigation brought by one of the largest fitness companies in the world.
  • Represented business managers in a lawsuit brought by the ex-wife of Law & Order creator Dick Wolf.
  • Represented the showrunner of the hit series Family Guy in a dispute with 20th Century Fox Television regarding profits from the series.
  • Represented the creators of the hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in a dispute with NBCUniversal regarding profits from the series.

Honors & Awards

  • “The Best Lawyers in America,” Best Lawyers (2021-Present)
  • “Power Lawyers,” The Hollywood Reporter (2019)
  • “Legal Impact Report,” Variety (2019)
  • “Hollywood’s New Leaders: Law & Finance,” Variety (2015)
  • “Super Lawyer,” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine (2015-Present)

Education

  • Yale University, B.A. (with distinction in English), 1998
  • UCLA School of Law, J.D., 2001

Related News

September 8, 2021

Chad Fitzgerald Joins Advisory Board of UCLA School of Law’s Ziffren Institute for Media, Entertainment, Technology & Sports Law

The firm is pleased to announce that Chad Fitzgerald has joined the Advisory Board of the acclaimed Ziffren Institute for Media, Entertainment, Technology & Sports Law at UCLA Law School....

August 19, 2021

Eleven KWIKH Attorneys Named 2022 “Best Lawyers;” One Named to “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch”

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Partners Zachary Elsea, Chad Fitzgerald, Shawn Holley, Lawrence Iser, Dale Kinsella, Gregory Korn, Alan Kossoff, Michael Kump, Suann MacIsaac, Nick Soltman, and Kristen Spanier have been recognized among the top...

July 26, 2021

KWIKH Obtains $200M Settlement for Frank Darabont/CAA in ‘Walking Dead’ Dispute

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In an outstanding victory for its clients, the firm recently negotiated a $200,000,000 settlement for "The Walking Dead” television show creator Frank Darabont and his agency CAA in their long-running,...

June 1, 2021

Chad Fitzgerald Speaks to Los Angeles Times’ The Wide Shot on Amazon’s Acquisition of MGM

Chad Fitzgerald was recently quoted in the Los Angeles Times entertainment business newsletter The Wide Shot regarding Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM....

March 10, 2021

Chad Fitzgerald Quoted in TheWrap on Bob Chapek’s First Year as Disney CEO

Chad Fitzgerald was recently quoted in Diane Haithman’s TheWrap article “Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s First Year Report Card: High Marks for Not ‘Steering it Off a Cliff.’” The article focuses...

January 21, 2021

14 KWIKH Attorneys Named 2021 “Super Lawyers”

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KWIKH is pleased to announce that 14 of the firm’s attorneys have been named 2021 Southern California “Super Lawyers” by Thomson Reuters. One of the most respected rating services in...

December 16, 2020

Chad Fitzgerald Speaks to TheWrap on Disney, Warner Bros. Streaming Strategies

TheWrap recently featured commentary from KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald in its coverage of Disney’s virtual “Investor Day” presentation, which unveiled the entertainment giant’s plans regarding content distribution for 2021. While...

August 20, 2020

Eleven KWIKH Attorneys Named 2021 “Best Lawyers;” One Named to “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch”

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Partners Zachary Elsea, Chad Fitzgerald, Shawn Holley, Lawrence Iser, Dale Kinsella, Gregory Korn, Michael Kump, Suann MacIsaac, Nick Soltman, Kristen Spanier, and Howard Weitzman have been recognized among the top...

April 15, 2020

AMC’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied – “The Walking Dead” Trial to Start in November 2020

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In the latest development in the profit participation battle between plaintiffs Frank Darabont & CAA and defendant AMC, Judge Joel M. Cohen denied AMC’s motion for summary judgment, AMC’s last...

February 8, 2020

Chad Fitzgerald a Panelist for AAA Entertainment Dispute Resolution Program – Hot Topics in Profit Participations

Chad Fitzgerald will be a panelist during the American Arbitration Association’s conference on May 8, 2020. The conference will be held at the Pepperdine Westside Conference Center in Los Angeles,...

October 31, 2019

Chad Fitzgerald Featured on Bones Case Podcast

Chad Fitzgerald was invited to speak as a featured guest on Green Hasson & Janks’ Entertainment podcast, tackling the recent Bones lawsuit and settlement. The podcast discusses key issues raised in...

April 10, 2019

Seven KWIKH Attorneys Named to Variety’s 2019 “Legal Impact Report”

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The firm is pleased to announce that partners Dale Kinsella, Howard Weitzman, Michael Kump, Shawn Holley, Chad Fitzgerald, Aaron Liskin and Nicholas Soltman were selected for inclusion in Variety's coveted "Legal...

March 29, 2019

Four KWIKH Attorneys Named Among THR’s 2019 “Power Lawyers”

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The firm is pleased to announce that Howard Weitzman was named as one of the inaugural group of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Legal Legends," and that Dale Kinsella, Michael Kump and...

February 1, 2016

Chad Fitzgerald comments on streaming revenues

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald was quoted by the Los Angeles Business Journal in Marni Usheroff's "Fresh Money In Old Shows" piece, highlighting a new type of income generated by television...

January 20, 2016

Twelve at KWIKH named Super Lawyers for 2016

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KWIKH is pleased to announce that twelve of our attorneys were named Super Lawyers for 2016, including Dale Kinsella, Howard Weitzman, Larry Iser, Michael Kump, Alan Kossoff, Shawn Holley, Greg...

December 8, 2015

KWIKH sues 20th Century Fox on behalf of ‘Bones’ producer

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Barry Josephson, executive producer of 20th Century Fox Television's mega-hit Bones, has hired KWIKH to represent him in his lawsuit against Fox, alleging the studio has cheated him out of...

October 27, 2015

Chad Fitzgerald named to Variety’s ‘Hollywood’s New Leaders’

KWIKH is pleased to announce that partner Chad Fitzgerald has been named to the Variety "Hollywood's New Leaders" honor roll for 2015 in the Law & Finance category. The...

January 22, 2015

Ten at KWIKH named Super Lawyers for 2015

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KWIKH is pleased to announce that 10 of our attorneys were named Super Lawyers for 2015, including Dale Kinsella, Howard Weitzman, Larry Iser, Michael Kump, Alan Kossoff, Shawn Holley, Greg...

November 11, 2014

Firm Scores Big Win in Darabont/AMC Case

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Several trades are reporting the firm's win in New York Supreme Court in the Frank Darabont, et. al v. AMC, et. al case regarding the show "Walking Dead." ...

October 23, 2014

Chad Fitzgerald a Panelist at Digital Hollywood Fall

Chad Fitzgerald was a panelist on The DealMaking Process: Producers, Showrunners, Actors, Directors, Agents, Lawyers - Who’s in Charge Here! at Digital Hollywood Fall....

June 6, 2014

Super Lawyers Magazine: KWIKH quintet named Rising Stars for 2014

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KWIKH is pleased to announce that Greg Korn, Jeremiah Reynolds, Chad Fitzgerald, David Swift and Greg Gabriel were named Southern California Rising Stars for 2014 by Super Lawyers magazine. The...

March 11, 2014

KWIKH obtains summary judgment for Mattel in copyright dispute over ‘Masters of the Universe’

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The United States District Court in Los Angeles has ruled in favor of KWIKH’s client, toy manufacturer Mattel, Inc., entering summary judgment in Mattel’s favor against the claim of writer...

December 10, 2013

Actors still getting short end of stick on home video profits

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald was quoted in Variety in Ted Johnson’s article on the lopsided division of profits between studios and talent.  Traditionally, the studios have divided up home video...

October 30, 2013

KWIKH wins appeal of Mattel board game win

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The California Court of Appeal has upheld Mattel’s 2011 defense verdict over its alleged failure to adhere to a license agreement for the board game Outburst.  Mattel was represented at...

June 13, 2013

Super Lawyers Magazine: Six from KWIKH named Rising Stars for 2013

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KWIKH is pleased to announce that Greg Korn, Jeremiah Reynolds, Chad Fitzgerald, Jonathan Steinsapir, Greg Gabriel and David Swift were named Southern California Rising Stars for 2013 by Super Lawyers...

February 28, 2013

Interview with Chad Fitzgerald: Music sales up for first time since 1999

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald was a guest on a recent broadcast of Larry Mantle’s weekday program on Southern California Public Radio which highlighted the news that music sales are up...

December 18, 2012

Disney ordered to pay $289 million in ‘Millionaire’ dispute

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald was quoted in Ted Johnson’s article in Variety on British production company Celador’s major court victory over the Walt Disney Company, confirmed on appeal, regarding profits...

October 8, 2012

Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj: How real is their feud?

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald was quoted by E! Online in Leslie Gornstein’s article about the very public clash between new American Idol judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. The article...

July 12, 2012

Chad Fitzgerald sees ‘new frontier’ in TV revenue-sharing

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald is quoted in The Hollywood Reporter in Eriq Gardner’s article highlighting the issue of compensation to television show creators when their episodes are seen on streaming...

June 15, 2012

Super Lawyers Magazine: Five from KWIKH named Rising Stars for 2012

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KWIKH is pleased to note that Greg Korn, Chad Fitzgerald, Jonathan Steinsapir, Greg Gabriel and David Swift were named Southern California Rising Stars for 2012 by Super Lawyers Magazine. Greg...

September 21, 2011

Daily Journal: ‘Bloody noses’ notwithstanding, studios still battling profit participation claims

KWIKH partner Chad Fitzgerald was quoted in Erica Phillips’ September 21, 2011 Daily Journal article, “Three cases shift profit-dispute balance,” where Ms. Phillips explains how the balance of power in...

June 22, 2011

KWIKH Obtains Jury Verdict for Mattel, Inc. in Licensing Dispute Over Board Game

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EL SEGUNDO, California (June 22, 2011) – A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has found in favor of toy manufacturer Mattel, Inc., ruling that Mattel fully complied with the terms of...

February 3, 2011

Chad Fitzgerald and Jonathan Steinsapir Named Partners

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Los Angeles, CA — February 1, 2011 — Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP (KWIKH) has named Chad Fitzgerald and Jonathan Steinsapir as Partners.  Coming off a landmark year of...

October 19, 2010

Daily Journal: ‘Hollywood Accounting’ Exposed; Verdicts Forcing Studios to Re-examine Profit-Participation Contracts

Chad Fitzgerald was quoted in Jean-Luc Renault’s October 15, 2010 Daily Journal article on the near-incomprehensible contract provisions that often govern profit-participation rights of actors, writers, producers and small companies in their...

March 29, 2010

Houston Chronicle: Writer not changing his toon; Katy (Texas) man has bone to pick with Disney about his dog script

Chad Fitzgerald was quoted in the Houston Chronicle in an article about a writer who claims the Walt Disney Company stole his script idea for the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua....

April 1, 2009

Pepperdine University School of Law: Entertainment Law Forum

Chad Fitzgerald will be speaking at the Entertainment Law Forum. The event will take place at Pepperdine Law School, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263, at 1:30 p.m. on...

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