An L.A. judge has ruled that Brandon “Bam” Margera’s lawsuit against Jackass Forever can proceed to discovery.
This year, Bam Margera filed a wrongful termination against Paramount Pictures, MTV Networks, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze. In the suit, the 42-year old claimed that his former employers violated his civil rights.
According to Margera, the defendants forced the reality star to submit to regular drug tests, take medications with a witness on FaceTime, and use a breathalyzer three times a day. The rules were listed in a “Wellness Agreement” that Margera said he was coerced into signing.
Jackass Forever fired the actor after the test found Adderall in his system. But Margera told the judge that he takes the drug for attention deficit disorder. So he didn’t break the agreement.
Bam Margera has been battling both mental health and addiction issues for decades. And according to him, producer Spike Jonze made him sign the agreement while he was doing a stint in rehab. Jonze told Margera that he couldn’t continue working for the franchise otherwise.
An L.A. Superior Court Judge Said The ‘Jackass Forever’ Suit has Minimal Merit
Jackass Forever asked L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert S. Draper to dismiss the case under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. According to the defendants, they were using their free speech on a public issue.
The judge did agree that “the creation, development, release, and distribution of Jackass Forever” was in the public’s best interest. But he ruled that Bam Margera’s suit did not fall below the minimum threshold necessary to state a claim.
Because of that, the lawsuit can continue into the next stage, discovery.
The reason that Margera’s allegations at the very least have minimal merit is that Jonze presented the “Wellness Agreement” with “a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.” Therefore, it’s possible that the actor signed the agreement under duress.
“The purpose of the SLAPP statute’s accelerated hearing is to dispose of claims promptly that implicate free speech that clearly have no merit,” the judge wrote in the tentative ruling. “Defendants might ultimately prevail as this case continues. But the claims have a minimal merit. And plaintiffs should have an opportunity to conduct discovery to identify certain examples of orally developed ideas that were actually used in the film.”
The suit doesn’t just state that Jackass Forever discriminated against the actor, though. It also claims that the production company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. And Judge Draper found that Margera has a strong chance to win his case.
Bam Margera also asked the judge for injunctive relief. However, Draper said that it’s “not recognized as causes of action in California.”