Thursday, July 24, 2014

There is Only One Lord of the (Risk) Ring?

As first covered in June (poetically), we noted a disqualification motion tied to a matter involving a fight over merchandising rights to the "Lord of the Rings." Now, fresh off the pages of Variety, comes an update: "Judge Refuses to Disqualify Tolkien Attorneys in ‘Lord of the Rings’ Dispute" --

  • "A federal judge is refusing to disqualify Greenberg Glusker as the law firm representing the estate of “The Lord of the Rings” creator J.R.R. Tolkien, which is engaged in a legal tangle with Warner Bros. and the Saul Zaentz Co. over merchandising rights to the lucrative franchise."
  • "Last month, Warner Bros., represented by Dan Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers, filed a motion claiming that Greenberg Glusker had “invaded” attorney-client privilege by hiring former MGM studio lawyers as expert witnesses."
  • "Warner Bros.’ claim is that Greenberg Glusker attorneys, led by Bonnie Eskenazi, contacted Alan Benjamin and William Bernstein, who represented UA as in-house lawyers at the time, to serve as expert witnesses, offered to represent them for free as 'percipient witnesses' and 'had direct communications with them.'"
  • "Collins wrote that in making her decision, she considered the Tolkien estate’s right to chosen counsel, Greenberg Glusker’s years of work on the litigation, the length of time that had passed since Bernstein and Benjamin were involved, and the “extremely attenuated relationship” between Warner Bros., the Zaentz Co. and United Artists. UA and MGM had filed a “joinder” to the Warner Bros. motion to disqualify Greenberg Glusker, even though they are not parties in the case."
  • "Collins also denied Warner Bros. and Zaentz’s request for an order of disclosure of Greenberg Glusker’s communications with Benjamin and Bernstein and for a deposition of Eskenazi. She wrote that the discovery is 'likely to be costly and fruitless, and will not advance the litigation.'""

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