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DC Comics accuses lawyer in Superman case of misconduct

Action Comics #1

Even as a judge is poised to rule whether the Joe Shuster estate’s bid to reclaim a portion of the Superman rights is valid, DC Comics is accusing the family’s attorney — a longtime legal nemesis of parent company Warner Bros. — of misconduct, and has asked the court to end the case.

Hollywood, Esq. reports the publisher on Wednesday filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing, arguing that attorney Marc Toberoff, who also represents Jerry Siegel’s heirs, “has violated three court orders, submitted four false and misleading declarations, made misrepresentations to the court, bogged down the court for years in his efforts to [hide] the ball, and otherwise subverted DC’s right to a fair search for the truth in both this case and the Siegel case.”

DC is pushing for terminating sanctions, which usually consists of dismissal. Toberoff tells Hollywood, Esq. that the motion is another distraction by the company, which filed a lawsuit in 2010 designed to force him to resign as the Siegels’ attorney.

DC claims that in 2001 Toberoff convinced Siegel’s daughter Laura Siegel Larson to walk away from a $3 million deal that would’ve permitted the publisher to retain the rights to the first Superman story in Action Comics #1. Shuster’s nephew Mark Warren Peary also signed with Toberoff, and in 2008 the Siegel family succeeded in reclaiming a portion of the rights through a provision of the U.S. Copyright Act (the case is on appeal); the window opens for the Shuster estate in 2013.

However, DC insists the termination notice filed by Peary in 2003 is invalid, arguing that the estate relinquished all claims to the Man of Steel in 1992 in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” including payment of Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and a $25,000 annual pension for his sister Jean Peavy. But Toberoff asserted last month that DC didn’t intend for the “ambiguous” 1992 document to transfer ownership of the copyright, telling U.S. District Judge Otis Wright that the publisher would never pin the future of “a billion-dollar property” on such an agreement. Wright, who will also consider DC’s latest motion, initially was skeptical but later appeared to recognize logic in Toberoff’s argument.

In addition to terminating sanctions, DC seeks the assignment of a special master to investigate any misconduct.

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Comments

11 Comments

Same old argument.It will never end.Judge is about to give them his decision, Warner Bros cries foul and then we get another delay on his judgement.

Good!

Honestly, haven’t the heirs figured out that leech Toberoff’s real agenda?

Okay, I’ve put this off long enough–someone PLEASE give me the address of the courthouse this case is taking place in. I’m going to mail a letter in an attempt to convince both sides to end this mockery of justice before it grows even more out of control. It’s time someone made both sides feel guilty, for ruining the prestige and dignity of one of the most iconic characters in our nation’s history.

This folly will never end until Toberoff is gone. He’s taken what should be a strong moral/legal argument and ruined it with his own agenda. I want the Siegel and Shuster estates to win out but as of right now, there’s no one involved with their best interests at heart.

figured just when it looked like the judge could maybe strip super man out of the hands of warners and dc and give him back to the heirs of his creator they go and cry foul and misconduct and thus delay maybe having to cough up some back payment and also kiss super man goodbye for good.

“It’s time someone made both sides feel guilty, for ruining the prestige and dignity of one of the most iconic characters in our nation’s history.”

Too late!

Michael J Straczynski already did that with Grounded.

Unfortunately greed always seem to obfuscate logic and good intentions. All involved are on the verge of taking probably the one true American mythological figure we have in Superman, and destroying him. For the love of money..shame.

$3 million and $600000. I think Superman is worth more than that. Come on DC. Marvel paid more for Marvelman!

the Heirs, and only the heirs own superman. it was already ruled on in 2008. it goes into effect in 2013. DC can spin it however they want to..they have lost the rights. this ruling can go either way, and it still has already been appealed and denied to warner. just accept the loss, re-name the character, change his origins, and let superman leap like the creators intended him to. –let him be sold to a company that will actually take risks with him again, instead of playing it safe.

Defiance-Defiant: The Siegel family regained Jerry Siegel’s rights to the Superman story in Action Comics #1 (it’s of course on appeal). Although the Shuster estate has filed notice of copyright termination, that wouldn’t go into effect until 2013 (if at all, depending how the court rules on the 1992 agreement). Until that’s settled, and a judge decides Shuster’s nephew was successful in reclaiming his uncle’s rights, DC still holds that portion.

@Boo
First off, it’s J. Michael Straczynski.

Secondly, I meant OUTSIDE comic stories.

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