In Part 1, I explained what a motion in limine is (so if you don’t know, go click on that link). In Part 2, I took a look at the ten in limine motions that the plaintiffs filed asking the judge in the AXANAR lawsuit to exclude specific evidence from trial and prevent certain key witnesses from testifying in front of the jury. And in Part 3, I began looking at the first four of the nine motions from the defense of what evidence and testimony they did not want the jury to see.
Here is a PDF document compiling all nine of the defense’s in limine motions:
In Part 1, I explained what a motion in limine is, so at least I don’t have to go through that again! And in Part 2, I took a look at the ten motions that the plaintiffs filed asking the judge in the AXANAR lawsuit to exclude specific evidence from trial and prevent certain key witnesses from testifying in front of the jury.
Today, it’s the defense attorneys’ turn under the FAN FILM FACTOR microscope. And if you think I’m just going to back up Team Axanar on everything and let ’em glide through this analysis unscathed, then you’re gonna be very surprised. I call ’em like I see ’em, and I freely admit that some of what the defense is asking the judge to exclude is pretty ballsy…in one case almost to the point of comedy relief (trying to exclude the words “Star Trek“–yep). On the other hand, they also make a number of very solid points and might actually have a chance of winning a few.
And in the end, that’s what challenging evidence and witness testimony is all about. Swing for the bleachers. The worst that happens (assuming you don’t piss off the judge too much) is that he says no and you just have to work a little harder during trial. But the rewards can be great if you do manage to take a key piece off the chess board.
In Part 1, I explained what a motion in limine is, so I don’t need to explain it again, right? Instead I can just jump into the ten motions the plaintiffs made in the AXANAR lawsuit to try to get certain key witnesses (including me!) and pieces of evidence excluded so that the jury will never see or hear them.
Here are all ten motions collected into one document:
To save you from having to read all 63 pages (!!!), I’ll be providing a nice ‘n tidy summary for you of each motion. In a few cases, I might comment on the strength or weakness of a particular argument. But for the most part, I’m going to stick to giving an overview of why the plaintiffs believe each item should be excluded, and also how that item could potentially hurt the plaintiffs if it gets in front of the jury. (After I finish going through all of the plaintiffs’ motions, I’ll do the same for the defense team.)
My apologies in advance for another long blog, but this time, there are TEN motions to cover! Read it in chunks if your eyes start to glaze.
Now that I’ve indulged my little emotional rant last Saturday, it’s time to sit down and take a somewhat less passionate look at the 19 motions in limine that both sides filed last week to exclude evidence and witnesses in the AXANAR lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are challenging TEN different items of evidence and potential witnesses (including yours truly!) while the defense team is challenging NINE. I’ve consolidated all those separate motions into two huge PDF documents:
In Part 1 of this blog series, I’d like to explore what a a motion in limineis and how and why it is used. In this way, I’m hoping to give you all a better idea of what is going on right now and why it’s so important (and also give myself more time to research and write up parts 2 and 3!).
In Part 2, ALIZA (uh-LEE-zuh) PEARL, the co-writer and star of THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING told us about how the series title was changed from Guinan: The Series even before the release of the new fan film guidelines in order to be able to keep to the vision that she and her co-writer/director Lamar Perry wanted.
We also discussed her experiences filming their new trailer at Industry Studios (now Ares Studios) and the support that she and Lamar have received from Axanar show-runner Alec Peters.
In Part 1, we got to meet ALIZA (uh-LEE-zuh) PEARL, the co-writer and star of THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING (the fan series formally known as Guinan: The Series). Last week, we discussed Aliza’s background as an actor, writer, and producer and also the origins of her project with co-writer and director LAMAR PERRY.
When last we left off, I had just asked about their reaction when they saw the new fan film guidelines from CBS…
Just when you thought you were out, I pull you back in! Yes, it’s AXANAR lawsuit time again…and I really didn’t expect this part to be quite so significant. Man, was I wrong!
As you may recall, the next major event in the Axanar case was supposed to be oral arguments for the motions for summary judgment in front of Judge R. Gary Klausner on Monday morning. But the judge canceled the in-person hearing and will be making his pre-trial rulings based solely on the documents filed by both parties. (This is not unusual. I’m told that Judge Klausner usually cancels oral arguments and rules based on filings.) This means that the judge’s rulings could come at any time…and this lawsuit could possibly even be over before it begins!
But if this case does go to trial on January 31, then yesterday (Friday) was an important deadline. It was the last chance each side had to challenge evidence and/or witnesses that the other side wants to use in court and present to the jury. This can potentially be pretty big. Imagine going into the big game with a few of your best players disqualified and benched. That could happen if the judge excludes one or more pieces of potentially key or damaging evidence from being used at trial!
The plaintiffs are challenging TEN different items of evidence and potential witnesses (like little ol’ me!) while the defense team is challenging NINE. I’ve consolidated all those separate motions into two huge PDF documents:
You probably don’t want to read all 140 pages (although there’s some interesting stuff in there!), so I’m gonna help ya out and do a summary…later this week. Assuming the judge doesn’t end the case before then, I’m gonna need at least a few days to parse through all this!
Except for the motion about me (starting on page 25). That one I wanna tackle right now because, dammit, it’s my frickin’ blog and I should be allowed a bit of self-indulgent righteous indignation every once in a while!
So let’s take a look at why the plaintiffs don’t want me ruining their case…
Usually, I do features and interviews about fan films that are either complete and already released or at least have posted an enticing trailer or teaser. But not always. Occasionally there’s a gem out there that’s worth covering even at a very early stage of development.
In this case the gem is a pearl, ALIZA PEARL to be precise. (And it’s pronounced “uh-LEE-zuh.”) And this pearl has an alter-ego: Guinan. Yes, THAT Guinan…the one made famous by actor Whoopi Goldberg on six seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Aliza and her co-writer/director Lamar Perry set out to make a prequel to TNG focusing entirely on Guinan, her mysterious past, and the experiences that shaped her into the fascinating bartender and confidante of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The fan production was going to be called GUINAN: THE SERIES.
As you know from reading my many blogs, there’s a heck of a LOT of Star Trek fan films out there! And thanks to the annual Lucasfilm Star Wars Fan Film Awards (which have been going on since 2002), there’s at least as many (if not more!) Star Wars fan films out there!
But surprisingly, there’s almost no crossover Star Trek/Star Wars fan films on the Internet. And it’s not as though the idea of crossing the franchise streams is completely alien. Fans have edited together scenes from both franchises to create clever mash-ups where the USS Enterprise battles a Star Destroyer or Captain Picard confronts Darth Vader over the view screen. But try to find a film where fans themselves portray the characters of both realities at the same time, and you’ll be looking for a long while.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look…I found one for you!
The motions for summary judgment had been filed last month by both parties in the AXANAR lawsuit, followed by opposition briefs and reply briefs from both sides. Next Monday, at 9:00 a.m. at the Ninth Circuit Federal Court Building, lawyers from both sides were scheduled to appear before Judge R. Gary Klausner to argue the merits of their motions and oppose the other side. And I was planning to be there.
Looks like I don’t have to schlep to downtown anymore. The court just sent the following message to the attorneys in the case:
SCHEDULING NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES AND ORDER by Judge R. Gary Klausner. Plaintiffs CBS Studios Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [72, 85] and Defendants Axanar Productions, Inc. and Alec Peters’ Motion for Summary Judgment , calendared for hearing on December 19, 2016, have been taken under submission and off the motion calendar. No appearances by counsel are necessary. The Court will issue a ruling after full consideration of properly submitted pleadings. IT IS SO ORDERED.
In other words, Judge Klausner will decide the motions based solely on the documents that have been filed. This is not unusual for him. In fact, I am told that it’s unusual for him to NOT cancel oral arguments!
And so his decision could come at any moment–today, tomorrow, next week–and when it does, you can believe I’m gonna post it as soon as I can!!!