John Berlinski is a partner in Kasowitz’s Century City office and Chair of the firm’s Entertainment Practice Group. His practice focuses on representing top actors, directors, producers, talent agencies, executives, studios, networks, casinos, and resorts, among others, in their most significant disputes, including litigating licensing, intellectual property, and "backend" profit participation claims.
John has been recognized as one of Hollywood’s top attorneys by The Hollywood Reporter on its “Power Lawyers 2020: Hollywood’s Top 100 Attorneys” list, and as an Entertainment Trailblazer by The American Lawyer and by The National Law Journal for his groundbreaking work as an entertainment lawyer. He has also been recognized in Variety's "Legal Impact Report," which spotlights leading attorneys in the entertainment industry, and by Benchmark Litigation as a Litigation Star.
Prior to joining the firm, John spent seven years at NBCUniversal, where he was the Senior Vice President & Head of West Coast Television Litigation. At NBCUniversal, he actively participated in and managed the company’s entertainment litigation docket, which included disputes involving profit participation, copyright, idea theft, right to privacy, breach of contract, labor and employment, and other matters. John was also the head lawyer for NBCUniversal’s profit participation group, managing a team of attorneys dedicated to providing advice regarding the negotiation of profit participation contracts, the issuance of accounting statements, audits, and the resolution of audit claims.
Before joining NBCUniversal, John worked for approximately seven years as a general litigator at O'Melveny & Myers.
- Actor Scarlett Johansson in a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging that The Walt Disney Company interfered with her contract to star in the Marvel Entertainment film, Black Widow. The complaint alleges that Disney forced its wholly-owned subsidiary, Marvel, to release Black Widow on its Disney+ streaming service simultaneously with the film’s release in theatres, in violation of Marvel’s commitment to an exclusive theatrical release. The complaint further alleges that this conduct by Disney devalued Ms. Johansson’s agreement, which was largely based on the film’s total box office receipts.
- Genting Malaysia Berhad, a leading international gaming and resort company, in a billion-plus dollar lawsuit against Fox Entertainment Group and The Walt Disney Company. The lawsuit, filed in the Central District of California, stems from Fox’s termination of a 2013 agreement in which it licensed to Genting certain Fox intellectual property for use in developing what was to be the world’s first Fox-branded theme park.
- Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, the stars of the long-running hit TV show “Bones,” and one of its producers Kathleen Reichs, in successfully obtaining a $179 million arbitration award for fraud and breach of contract, including $50 million in compensatory damages and over $128 million in punitive damages, against 21st Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting Company, and other Fox entities. This is the largest arbitration award ever issued in a profit participation dispute.
- Resorts World Las Vegas, a $4 billion hotel and casino that is currently being built on the Las Vegas “Strip,” in a trademark infringement and unfair competition matter brought by Wynn Resorts Holdings. The case settled favorably for our client.
- Katie O’Connell Marsh in a suit alleging that she was underpaid more than $10 million in contingent bonuses involving television shows she developed while CEO of Gaumont International Television, including Narcos, Hannibal, Hemlock Grove and F is for Family.
- AMC Networks, one of the most watched cable television networks in the world, in an action brought by producer Frank Darabont and talent agency CAA over alleged unpaid contingent compensation concerning the television series, The Walking Dead.
- The creators of one of the most successful series ever telecast on basic cable television in a confidential profit participation arbitration, obtaining a significant award on behalf of the creators.