Reality TV star files wrongful termination suit after his firing


Is reality TV a true depiction of real life? Many New Jersey residents would say no, especially after watching the reality show "Jersey Shore." "Storage Wars" cast member David Hester doesn't think so, either. He is filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming that show producers added items in the abandoned lockers to create drama, making their practices not only deceitful but also illegal. When he complained about the illegal practices, he was fired from the show.

"Storage Wars," which airs on A&E, is one of cable television's highest-ranked shows. It shows buyers bidding on abandoned lockers that may or may not have valuables inside. Hester claims that producers planted some of the items, such as Elvis memorabilia and vehicles, to create suspense. Hester complained to producers, who then stopped adding items to his lockers. However, producers continued to add items to the lockers of the other cast members.

Hester's lawsuit claims that producers are breaking a federal law stating that viewers are not allowed to be deceived when a TV show involves intellectual skills. He also claims the auction is staged. Hester is seeking $750,000 from A&E for breach of contract, wrongful termination and unfair business practices.

Hester's case may involve a whistleblower protection law, since he was fired for reporting the television show's misconduct. In most states, it is against the law to retaliate against an employee for reporting violations. However, laws vary, and the statute of limitations for filing a claim is very limited--sometimes 120 days or less. Those who believe they were wrongfully terminated can sue for loss of pay and lawyer fees.

Source: HitFix, " Former 'Storage Wars' cast member claims show is staged in wrongful termination suit," Dec. 11, 2012