Okay, so everyone is talking about, cheering about, cursing about, and analyzing Friday’s ruling by Magistrate Judge Charles Eick after the hearing to determine Axanar‘s motion to compel discovery from the studios.
Rather than summarize exactly what just happened, I am going to humbly direct you to the blog website of my delightful counterpart over on the other side of the Internet fence, Janet Gershen-Siegel. Unlike me, the Boston-based Janet actually went to law school, graduated, and practiced insurance defense law for a few years back in the 1990s. She’s been analyzing and writing about the Axanar lawsuit in painstaking detail almost since it was filed. And while we all have our little biases (yes, even me!), Janet’s meticulous reviews are sprinkled with a generous helping of comedic flairs to be very accessible for the lay-person. And when I say I do my research before writing these blogs, hers is one of my never-miss sources of information and insight.
So instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to send those of you who are curious over there to Janet’s blog to read more about what the judge actually ordered the studios to do…and then come back here for the follow-up. What I’m going to talk about is how the defense is planning to use all of this newfound “bounty” (an amazing amount of new discovery documentation and verbal/written answers to defense questions ordered by the court) to try to win their case…or at worst, not lose too badly.
Continue reading “AXANAR LAWSUIT discovery ruling – what does it all mean? (Part 1)”
I don’t usually get breaking news as it happens, but Judge Magistrate Charles Eick just ruled on the Axanar defense team’s motion to have the court compel discovery (force the studios to deliver documents they were refusing to produce for the defense to look over before trial).
I was in court myself observing this morning, and I hadn’t expected the judge to rule so quickly. But Judge Eick understood that, with only 12 days left until the close of the discovery period, the clock was ticking.
His ruling JUST came out, and I don’t even have the full text yet. All I have is this summary:
On or before October 28, 2016, Plaintiffs shall…
- serve supplemental responses without objection, and produce all documents responsive to, the following requests (except documents withheld under claim of attorney-client privilege): 14, 35, 36, 37 (limited to the works allegedly infringed and also limited to documents (which may be summary documents) sufficient to show revenues and profitability), 17 (limited to 2009 to the present), 18 (limited to 2009 to the present), 21, 25 and 29;
- serve supplemental answers without objection to Interrogatories Nos. 8 and 9
- produce for deposition a witness or witnesses prepared to testify as to Deposition Testimony Subject No. 28;
- serve a privilege log identifying with particularity all documents withheld under claim of attorney- client privilege; and
- to the extent not otherwise ordered herein, fulfill all discovery-related promises previously made by Plaintiffs to Defendants.
In short, Axanar got pretty much everything they wanted and the studios are going to have a VERY busy week ahead.
Now, I’m going to need a couple of days to parse this all out and translate it from legalese into lay-person’s English. So please be patient. (During that time, I’ve also Jayden’s karate class, soccer practice, a friend’s birthday, a soccer game, and a birthday party for one of Jayden’s classmates. And so this is why I don’t blog professionally.)
But short summary: big win for Axanar during the discovery phase. The actual trial is completely separate, but for right now, the defense is going to have a very happy weekend.
Yesterday, we began discussing the two documents filed by the opposing parties in the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit last Friday. (There’s actually three documents, but more on that later.)
Both of the new documents are significantly shorter than the 60-page Joint Stipulation document from the previous week that argued for and against the court to compel the studios to produce a boatload of documentation related tot he case.
While the plaintiffs’ supplemental memorandum was only a page and a half and repeated most of what they argued previously, the defense’s supplemental memorandum used the full five pages permitted by the court. When last we left off, we were talking about President Gerald Ford. No, seriously. Go back and read yesterday’s blog, and then come back here to see how team Axanar‘s strategy is becoming much clearer now…
Continue reading “Bombshells begin in discovery phase of AXANAR lawsuit! (Part 2)”
Did you hear the fireworks last Friday afternoon? If you were in the Central District Federal Courthouse of the 9th Circuit, you might have!
As expected, both the Axanar defense team at Winston & Strawn and the CBS/Paramount legal team at Loeb & Loeb filed their brief supplements to their recent 60-page Joint Stipulation document to compel discovery that was filed on September 29th. The deadline for adding anything to the original filing was the end of business last Friday, and things came right down to the wire!
Y’see, both sides wanted to get the last word in, so each waited as long as possible to file their supplemental memorandum. But in the end, Winston & Strawn waited just a teensy bit longer and managed to adjust their filing slightly to address a couple of the points that the plaintiffs included in their supplement.
Continue reading “Bombshells begin in discovery phase of AXANAR lawsuit! (Part 1)”
I’m going to save some time and instead of summarizing Part 1, I recommend you read it, if you haven’t already. You can also link to the 60-page Joint Stipulation document that contains both Axanar‘s Motion to Compel the studios to deliver the remainder of the documentation they initially asked for, and also the studios’ responses to those requests.
When last we left off, we were up to the third category of documentation requested by the defense (and not fully provided by the plaintiff)…
Continue reading “AXANAR LAWSUIT discovery phase heats up! (Part 2)”
It’s “High Noon” in the Axanar lawsuit…and we haven’t even gotten to trial yet! But that ominous background music is playing, and the two gunfighters are facing off for a showdown in the middle of a dusty street in a western town. More specifically, the CBS and Paramount lawyers at Loeb & Loeb are facing down the Axanar lawyers at Winston & Strawn (and vice-versa!), and the entire case could be won or lost right now by either side–months before trial even begins–and both teams of lawyers know it!
Continue reading “AXANAR LAWSUIT discovery phase heats up! (Part 1)”
Last time: well, last time there was just way too much to summarize, so just click here to read it if you haven’t already.
Basically, with a trial date set for January 31, 2017 and no settlement announced yet, the case has entered the discovery phase. (So yes, “Star Trek: Discovery” now means two totally different things to CBS!)
During discovery, both the plaintiffs and the defendant must provide the other side with any piece of evidence they ask for that is relevant to the case. Witnesses are questioned (deposed), documents are collected and shared, and queries are submitted in writing requiring honest and open answers…and all this months before a jury is ever seated and the clerk says, “This courtroom will now come to order.”
Continue reading “AXANAR enters DISCOVERY! (Part 2)”
It’s time for Star Trek discovery! No, not the new TV series. I’m talking about the next phase of the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit: legal discovery.
Last week, former Axanar marketing director and tech guru, Terry McIntosh, posted on Facebook that he had just been subpoenaed by CBS and Paramount to be deposed as part of the copyright infringement lawsuit against Alec Peters and Axanar. Terry is not in any legal peril himself, as no other defendants other than Alec Peters were named in the lawsuit. Instead, the studio lawyers will probably just ask for copies of all of Terry’s correspondence (e-mails, IMs, chats) with members of the Axanar team, and the studios might set up a deposition to ask Terry some (maybe even a lot of) questions either in person or over the phone.
And this means that the (coincidentally named) DISCOVERY phase of the lawsuit is now in full swing. So what does that mean?
Continue reading “AXANAR enters DISCOVERY! (Part 1)”
Before I begin, I’d just like to go on record that I’ve had the time of my life here in Las Vegas for the last five days. And CREATION ENTERTAINMENT founders Adam Malin and Gary Berman (and their many employees, volunteers, and celebrity guests) have outdone themselves in putting on a superb 50th anniversary tribute to Star Trek. I laughed, I cried, I kissed about $250 goodbye in the dealers room. It was the best of times; it was an incredible gift to the 6,000 fans who could afford to make it to Las Vegas and ordered their tickets before they sold out. So well done, I say to all of Creation!
And then came the “but.”
Continue reading “CREATION CONtroversy…how’s that new “no talking about fan films” policy holding up?”
Wanna see and hear what the guy who types all these blogs looks and sounds like? Last week, I was contacted by a news producer for ReasonTV and asked if I’d be willing to come in for a half hour or so and discuss Star Trek fan films. Well, gee, twist my arm!
I’d never heard of ReasonTV, but it turns out it’s the latest offering from the Reason Foundation, which was founded in 1978 and publishes the monthly Reason magazine (voted one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune…for whatever that’s worth).
I was told the news feature would be about 10 minutes long and focus on the CBS/Axanar lawsuit and the new fan film guidelines. Alec Peters and Richard Hatch would also appear in the piece. We’d all be interviewed separately and edited together later.
I drove to the studio (conveniently located only about ten minutes from where I live) and sat for a very pleasant interview. The reporter, Zach Weissmueller, was well prepared with some great questions. This wasn’t just a fluff piece, and my job wasn’t to talk up Axanar. In fact, I think I only even said the word “Axanar” once during the entire interview. Instead, I was asked about the history of fan films and the introduction of the new official guidelines.
You can watch the video below (it’s very well-produced and informative) or click here to read the text piece that goes along with it.