Caitlin Sanchez, 14, has filed a lawsuit against Nickelodeon alleging that the network denied her full compensation as the voice for “Dora the Explorer.” The New Jersey team says that she (and her parents) were taken advantage of by network lawyers who convinced them to sign an unfair and ambiguous contract.
Caitlin is alleging that Nickelodeon lawyer acted like Swiper the Fox and then denied her a legal map.
Her lawyers allege that the network “took advantage of a hard-working teenage girl” and “charges that Caitlin and her parents were pressured into signing an unconscionable contract with convoluted, vague and undefined terms that allowed producers of the Nickelodeon hit to exploit her.” They are asking for millions of uncompensated earnings for “merchandising, re-runs, promotional work and recordings.”
These are very difficult claims to establish. One interesting allegation is that Sanchez and her parents were “pressured to sign within a half-hour of first seeing” the contract. If true, that is a very poor practice for any network lawyer and could now sustain this complaint beyond motions to dismiss.
In fairness to the network, it insists that Caitlin (who has been told she will no longer be the voice of the character) was “extensively negotiated through her agent.” I do not see any mention of an attorney for Caitlin and the question is why they are not suing the agent for negligence if this is true.
The turning point could be the deposition of Boots, who is known to be a disgruntled monkey. The Fiesta Trio are known as company men.
4 thoughts on “Dora Explores Liability: Voice of Cartoon Character Sues Nickelodeon”
Above link is a Hulu clip of an SNL spoof on Dora.
Having spent many years in the “entertainment” profession I can not stress enough the importance of a good agent and lawyer (I never mixed the two). I was fortunate to come across both at the age of fourteen and they remained with me until I retired. My accountant came on board when I turned 21.
Over the years my agent and/or lawyer were involved in some very tense negotiations and I remained in the background. I can not tell you the number of people who tried to take advantage of me even after the contracts were signed. But I was always fully briefed by my reps and kept a pack of cards at the ready … “Call my agent or call my atty” was my mantra as I handed out the cards.
They were worth every penny I paid them.
Do I think this is possible….Hell yes…this is the type of things that need to be referred to a person that is familiar with the nuances of the industry….I had two pro-ball players as clients for other matters and asked to look at the contract for employment in the original profession….Terms were used in different ways than the ordinary understanding so this young lady may indeed have a claim against the Agent, yet to be filed and Nick may have some real liability for an unconscionable act of a minor.
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