The co-creators of Duck Dynasty will not be allowed to run their production company autonomously amid the fraud suit against them, but they will be permitted to remain on the board, an appellate court ruled Tuesday.
The legal battle against Scott and Deidre Gurney from Gurney Productions began in December 2016 after ITV fired them and sued them for fraud. The company soon countersued, claiming ITV's allegations were an attempt to take over their company.
In March, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the couple would have reinstated control of their production company, which was appealed by ITV. Tuesday, an appellate court affirmed the previous decision but said the duo would not be able to run the company on a day-to-day basis.
"Our conclusion that the operating agreement does not give the Gurneys this unchecked authority does not render the Gurneys powerless," writes presiding justice Frances Rothschild. "Although the Gurneys lost the right to manage the day-to-day operations of the Company when the majority of the board voted to remove them as CEO’s, they retained their rights as board members."
The Gurneys contend in court documents that the plan to force them out of the company has been long-planned by ITV.
"Dierdre Gurney submits a checklist entitled 'Operation Peking' that she discovered in Gurney Productions' business records, which she contends is a reference to the Gurneys based on their work with Duck Dynasty," the judge in the March case wrote. "The checklist purportedly shows the steps the Cross-Defendants planned to take to forcibly divest the Gurneys of their interest in Gurney Productions, LLC even without good cause, including 'purchas[ing] champagne for positive outcome.'"
Both suits are still pending.