Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Octavia Spencer Wins Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Involving Tweets

Article Placeholder Image
By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 24, 2014 7:11 AM

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer has prevailed in the wrongful termination lawsuit she filed against a company that ended her endorsement deal over a disputed Twitter hashtag.

Spencer was granted a default judgment against Sensa Products in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The judge ordered Sensa, a now-defunct maker of weight loss products, to pay $940,000 in damages to Spencer, who won an Oscar in 2012 for her role as Minny in the film "The Help."

What led to Spencer's latest win, this time in a court of law?

Lawsuit Filed in 2013

Spencer brought her wrongful termination action in 2013 after Sensa ended its endorsement deal with the actress without paying her the $700,000 Spencer claimed she was still owed. The company terminated the deal with Spencer after she began adding the hashtag #spon at the end of her tweets about the company's product, to indicate the tweets were sponsored.

In her lawsuit, Spencer claimed that she had fulfilled her side of the agreement, which included losing an agreed-upon amount of weight and promoting the company's products. Furthermore, Spencer claimed that the contract did not require that her tweets be pre-approved by the company or prohibit her from using the #spon hashtag, which she added to comply with FTC rules regarding online advertising.

Default Judgment

Although an additional allegation of fraud against Sensa was dismissed, Spencer's contract claim for breach of the covenant good faith and fair dealing was allowed to continue. In the meantime, however, Sensa has gone out of business. The law firm representing the company filed a motion to remove itself as the company's counsel, which was granted by the judge last month.

With no participation in the case from the company since, Spencer was granted a default judgment -- something that's typically granted when a party to a lawsuit fails to appear or take the required procedural steps. Unfortunately, collecting on her judgment from the now-insolvent Sensa may be difficult. Nevertheless, a victory is still a victory.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources: