Marc Toberoff, who has represented both the estates of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster against DC Comics/Warner Bros and Jack Kirby against Marvel/Disney, found himself the target of litigation from Warner Bros over the way he represented his clients.
Accusing him of trying to gain control and ownership of the rights to Superman for himself, he was accused of trying to get the families of Siegel and Shuster to break their contractual agreements with Warners and instead join with Toberoff, Pacific Pictures and IP Worldwide to gain control and greater revenue from the character.
And while Toberoff has, to date, been relatively unsuccessful through the ten year case, with recent judgments in favour of DC/Warner, in regard to the suit launched by Warner against him, he has had a victory. Not only has that suit been dismissed, but also Warner’s attourney fees against him ahve been dismissed.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright also refused DC’s effort to force Toberoff to pay some $500,000 in attorney’s fees, going so far as to say that the singling out of their attorney “smacks of animus” toward him.
“Punishing Toberoff and Pacific Pictures with a $500,000 attorneys-fees award would send a clear message to copyright defendants that litigating a claim with good-faith, supported defenses is wrong. That is undoubtedly not a message this court wants to send to Toberoff or others,” Wright wrote.
In another order, Wright also rejected DC’s tortious interference claims against Toberoff and the heirs, ruling that they were time-barred by the statute of limitations. He wrote that DC “had more than enough inquiry” by 2006 at the latest to file a claim that “Toberoff may have meddled in its business affairs with the Siegels and the Shusters.”
In other news, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has dismissed an appeal by Jazan Wild over his perceived similarities between his graphic novel series Jazan Wild’s Carnival of Souls and the carnival-set fourth series of the NBC TV show Heroes.
And I’m expecting to hear more news about the Ken Penders/Archie lawsuit any day now…