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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Heads up for June 6th judgment on C. Tolkien's lawsuit.
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overlithe64
Rivendell


Jun 6 2008, 4:17am

Post #26 of 70 (870 views)
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Yikes [In reply to] Can't Post

Is that terminate all rights or just NL's option...would it simply revert back to Saul Zaentz? Or are they taking our precious away completely....

I know they deserve to be paid, but come on we need the films more than they need the cash....sigh.

Best case scenario...as I have mentioned before...NL gets booted out all together leaving us crook free....and the rights revert to Miramax and Saul...Film gets made and NL gets cast into the fires of mount doom, never to rear their cheating heads again. second choice...NL has to pay through the nose and we still get our films.

oooo I sound bitter.Evil

I am not obsessed... If I am, I am in excellent company.

(This post was edited by overlithe64 on Jun 6 2008, 4:19am)


Elven
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 4:32am

Post #27 of 70 (873 views)
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Ah yes, I see where the confusion [In reply to] Can't Post

lies here ... I used the word judgement. I dont think they will be making any judgements on this - as I have posted in earlier threads - maybe the 'start to determining' would have been a better word - but Ive also made note elsewhere that this isn't short term - and I don't think anything would be decided tomorrow - but I also dont think it will remain stagnent, and I think the Plantiffs will press ahead. Warners are defering to me - not looking to have anything determined.

Its possibly why pre-production starts next year as well - the Plantiffs (TE & Co.) are asking to be reimbursed for any monies gained from the upcoming movies as well - there's no point spending money or gaining it - if this project maybe halted in mid flight. That gives me the impression that possibly Warners are confident - but taking no more risks than is necessary - they had to get the film up and running - as did the Plantiffs have to get their case up and running - a time collision of sorts.

I dont know whats going to happen - it just feels like a volcanno is about to errupt over this at some stage.
Possibly there will be some great disruption to the films - I cant see them not going ahead though, even if they are delayed by a couple of years.
I have noticed that the reports bashing Christopher have died down -

We wait and see.
Thanks woodyend.
Cheers
Elven


Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



Peredhil lover
Valinor

Jun 6 2008, 5:08am

Post #28 of 70 (849 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I take all media coverage of lawsuits with a grain of salt. Legalese can be hard to understand at the best of times, and I'm sure even more so if you're trying to read something quickly to finish an article before deadline.



And even more if journalists try to squeeze a complicated legal case into a few lines - the possibilities for misunderstandings are good then ...

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 6 2008, 5:11am

Post #29 of 70 (863 views)
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Thanks, Voronwe [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to be a legal journalist (ie a journalist writing about the law, and generally litigation) but that was in the UK so I'm not very au fait with the technicalities of proceedings in the US. I am however used to the mainstream media getting it all wrong on a regular basis. Gets me riled even now!

Figwit Still Lives!



Calling for a Figwit cameo in The Hobbit since May 2008


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Jun 6 2008, 5:16am

Post #30 of 70 (862 views)
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Want to add my own thanks to Voronwe [In reply to] Can't Post

Lawyer language is bad enough to understand in my own language, but in a foreign language it's even worse, so I am glad that someone can explain it in a way even *I* am able to understand! Thanks, Voronwe! Smile

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 6:17am

Post #31 of 70 (865 views)
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It is my pleasure [In reply to] Can't Post

To WoodyEnd, Nickey08, Peredhil Lover, Eledhwen, and everyone else here, it is my pleasure! I am happy to be able to help interpret these complicated proceedings, particutlarly given the horribly inaccurate reporting that the media is doing. And if I say anything that is confusing, don't be afraid to ask for a clarification.

Smile

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


Elven
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 6:20am

Post #32 of 70 (877 views)
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Thank-you Voronwe ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thankyou for all your help with the clarification on the case! Cheers!! Smile



Quote
As I have repeatedly stated before in other threads here, nothing substantial is going to happen tomorrow. It is not a hearing, it is a standard case management conference, in which the the judge will talk to the lawyers about where the case is going. In all likelihood there won't even be a trial date set. At most, the court might order the parties to mediation, since both sides indicated a willingness to mediate in their case management conference statements. CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN WILL NOT BE THERE!!!!!11 NO SUBSTANTIVE DECISIONS ABOUT ANY ASPECTS REGARDING THE CASE WILL BE DECIDED!



I get the impression that this case (regardless of tomorrows outcome if mediation is ordered and if that mediation takes place) would go ahead from the plantiffs point of view so that further down the track, 'The Agreements' are determined upon - otherwise Im not seeing what the point of the case would be - what do you feel?
Im not sure of the order of the way things are progressing. I thought it would be the other way around - for the Courts to determine the contracts validity first, and to then determine if the charge of fraud was applicable?



Quote
There is a hearing scheduled for June 24 (which the court wants to move to June 27) on New Line's demurrer and Motion to Strike. But those motions only involve two causes of action, one for fraud, and one for breach of a fiduciary duty. Even if New Line wins those motions, the only tangible result would be that they would be safe from punitive damages. It would have no bearing whatsoever on the issue of whether the plaintiffs would have the right to stop The Hobbit movies.



The above Motion to Strike - in itself, seems a case in itself - is that right?



Quote
Here is the real kicker. Based on the language of the 1969 agreements, the plaintiffs would only have the opportunity to gain that right on a final determination by the court that New Line breached the agreements. Which means that there will be no decision on that issue until the case goes to trial, which is likely to be at least a year away and perhaps as much as several years. And then that decision can be appealed, which could delay things for another couple of years!



Thats possibly why the Plantiffs have included the past, present and future exploitation of the movies gross profit reciept revenues in their complaint? So that if the movie is made they will still get paid.
So can the Courts determine which way and what procedures they will tackle first?
Or have New Line decided to take this avenue of approach (Motion to Strike) on these other issues so as to buy time?



Quote
Unless a settlement is reached in the meanwhile, which would make it a moot point.



Do you think Warners/New Line are being confident - or brazen?


Thanks for all your help!
Cheers Elven



Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 7:12am

Post #33 of 70 (925 views)
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Let Me Try To Clarify Further [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Elven!

Quote
Thankyou for all your help with the clarification on the case! Cheers!! Smile


As I said before, it is my pleasure! The folks here are so appreciative; it is very welcoming!



Quote
I get the impression that this case (regardless of tomorrows outcome if mediation is ordered and if that mediation takes place) would go ahead from the plantiffs point of view so that further down the track, 'The Agreements' are determined upon - otherwise Im not seeing what the point of the case would be - what do you feel?

Yes, you are right on the money here. The main point of the case is to interpret the agreements, and whether New Line has breached them.

Quote
Im not sure of the order of the way things are progressing. I thought it would be the other way around - for the Courts to determine the contracts validity first, and to then determine if the charge of fraud was applicable?

Let me back up for second, and pedantically explain a bit about our legal system. Forgive me if this is getting to fundamental, but I think it might be helpful for people. Our legal system is divided into two parts, criminal and civil. The purpose of criminal law is punish individuals (including corporations, sometimes) for wrongdoing. The purpose of civil law is to try to make the individual who was wronged (including a corporation) "whole"; in other words to compensate them for the harm that they have suffered. This is a civil case, so it falls into the latter category. Civil cases themselves are broken into two categories; contract law and tort law. Contract law involves the breach of an agreement between two parties; the only damages that can be collected in contract cases are the economic damages that the breach of the agreement caused. Tort cases include, among other things, assault and battery, negligence, and fraud cases. In Tort cases, the plaintiff sometimes is entitled to more damages than just the economic damages, including "punitive damages" if it can be proven that the defendant acted with malice or oppression or fraud. In order to prove a case of fraud, it must be proven that the defendant made some misrepresentation that they knew or should have known was false, which the plaintiff relied upon, causing the plaintiff some harm. Normally it is difficult to allege fraud in a contract case unless it can be shown that the fraud induced the plaintiff to enter into the contract. Here that is certainly not the case. The plaintiffs are alleging that New Line committed fraud by misrepresenting the profit figures. New Line is arguing that even if they did misrepresent the profits (which they deny), the plaintiffs can't argue that they relied on those representations in any way that harmed them. In other words, the contract already existed, and its terms were set, so there can't be any valid cause of action for fraud, even if the plaintiff's allegations were proven to be true. I think that is a pretty strong argument. The other argument that New Line is making in its demurrer is regarding the plaintiff's cause of action for breach of a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is usually some special relationship that exist for instance between a broker and his client, or a banker, or a trustee. I can't see what kind of fiduciary duty the plaintiffs are alleging existed between them and New Line, so I think New Line has a good argument here as well.


Quote
The above Motion to Strike - in itself, seems a case in itself - is that right?


The Motion to Strike is simply an attempt to remove the request for punitive damages. It is essentially an extension of the demurrer. They are arguing that since neither the fraud nor breach of fiduciary duty causes of action are valid, they are not liable for punitive damages.

Quote
Thats possibly why the Plantiffs have included the past, present and future exploitation of the movies gross profit reciept revenues in their complaint? So that if the movie is made they will still get paid.

Yes, I think that the Plaintiffs' real goal is to both get paid what they are owed for the previous movies, and make sure that they get paid what they are due for the future movies.

Quote
So can the Courts determine which way and what procedures they will tackle first?

No, not really. That is more up to the parties.

Quote
Or have New Line decided to take this avenue of approach (Motion to Strike) on these other issues so as to buy time?



No, I think there main goal there is to limit their potential liability.

Quote
Do you think Warners/New Line are being confident - or brazen?


Thus far I think they are being realistic and reasonable, whereas the Tolkiens lawyers are really being over the top (which is part of the reason why Christopher has gotten such bad press recently.


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


Elven
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 8:52am

Post #34 of 70 (883 views)
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Oh! Interesting!! ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thankyou once more for all the time you have given over to this - its wonderful!!
I'm just adding what I see as being tackled at the moment from your summery Smile



Quote

In order to prove a case of fraud, it must be proven that the defendant made some misrepresentation that they knew or should have known was false, which the plaintiff relied upon, causing the plaintiff some harm. Normally it is difficult to allege fraud in a contract case unless it can be shown that the fraud induced the plaintiff to enter into the contract. Here that is certainly not the case. The plaintiffs are alleging that New Line committed fraud by misrepresenting the profit figures.



This is interesting because I think the plantiffs are basing the fraud on their own Periodical Statements recieved (and which are still being sent) - and what already has been discovered through the partial audit which was done in the last case which involved PJ ... (the below is my interpretation - from the FiindLaw article) ... and I find that the plantiffs have been charged millions of dollars as well ... This list below has already been determined by the courts from the First Audit?


In 2002 New Line started to send out the Periodical Participation statements. The statements, claimed by accounted methods, said that no one was owed any money. They periodically still send these out to the Plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs complained that the accounting methology was not right. New Line ignored and avoided the complaints made to them.

Ultimately in 2005 (3 years later) they allowed a partial audit of film 1; Fellowship of The Ring. In doing this they blocked and would not release certain documents pertaining to the reciepts and accounting methods used, they delayed and denied plaintiffs any access to documents to complete the audit properly. They defiantly refused any audits on film 2 and 3.

The partial audit of film 1 revealed ...
Substantial understating of Gross Reciepts on the films.
Understated and undisclosed revenue on video and ancillaries domestc and international - by hundred of millions of dollars.
Failing to calculate into the Gross Reciepts revenue and revenue derived from inhouse sales and distributions of their own or affiliates.
Substantially overstating costs and payments and bonuses to people.
Improperly claiming expenses - such as revenue due by contracts (zaentz and Miramax) as expenses.
Claiming receipt profits paid, as expenditures.
Claiming costs they never spent.
Forward accounting - claiming costs they hadnt paid or had intention to pay.
Failing to pay plaintiffs under the terms of the Agreements.
Falsely accounting revenues for the agreements to plaintiffs.
Charging Plaintiffs millions of dollars in 'over budget' penalties, phantom interest charges.
Allocating costs between films.
Not taking tax breaks and subsidies they were entitled to.
Failing to comply with terms of agreements made.
Failing to pay people.
Failing to supply documentation and destroying documents relaevant to the process of assessing the revenue generated.
Failure to properly determine the amounts of renevue owing to the plaintiffs.





Quote

New Line is arguing that even if they did misrepresent the profits (which they deny), the plaintiffs can't argue that they relied on those representations in any way that harmed them.


*can I laugh here* Wink - sorry - its the part that says 'even if they did misrepresent the profits' ... see list above ....

On another note here: Due to PJ's case being settled out of court - do the above findings, regarding the Accounting Practises and the Periodical statements - hold as much weight then in this case? Or can they be used to secure an audit for films 2 & 3 even if the things on the list are not used as evidence of fraudulent practises (relating to this case)?

The planifs are saying:
NewLine, through its accounting personel and Senior Management have misrepresented and knowingly sent out the Participation Statements the plaintiffs have recieved, which concealed facts and were purposely a misrepresentation of the facts.

Each of the Participation Statements are false and fraudulent. They repeatedly reflect an innacurate revenue by means of innacurate accounting of costs and production charges which changes the Artificial Payment Levy. New Line aslo are aware that documents were purposely destroyed.




Quote

In other words, the contract already existed, and its terms were set, so there can't be any valid cause of action for fraud, even if the plaintiff's allegations were proven to be true. I think that is a pretty strong argument.



Claimed by the plaintiffs:

New Line has not held their contractual obligations set out in their Zaentz/New Line Agreements, nor have they in turn fulfilled their contractual obligations to United Artists.
NL have not been faithful to thier obligations or acted harmlessly to plaintiffs as stated in the contract.
NL continue to breech their obligations and conditions set out in the Agreements.
They have deprived plaintiffs of money owed and have cost the Plaintiffs money - (an amount to be determined).






Quote

The other argument that New Line is making in its demurrer is regarding the plaintiff's cause of action for breach of a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is usually some special relationship that exist for instance between a broker and his client, or a banker, or a trustee. I can't see what kind of fiduciary duty the plaintiffs are alleging existed between them and New Line, so I think New Line has a good argument here as well.



Would this be something regarded as fiduciary?
It may also have something to do with the TE plantiffs being a charity ... as to the income for charitable purposes?
I also feel that not only are the plantiffs trying to get a foothold on this for themselves - but possibly for other cases which, if the case (in full - or partially) goes in their favour, it opens the door for others which have not been paid - which has been noted to date as well.


The plaintiffs property must also be 'looked after' by New Line, and the relationship between parties should be manageable and respectful.
New Line has breeched it fiduciary duties to plaintiffs, which in turn has damaged the plaintiffs by having no regard to the plaintiffs rights in the matter.
The plaintiffs will assess the amount of damages and will seek to recover this amount when true figures come to light. These amounts are to deter New line from continuous behaviour of the kind alleged in the future.



I am not expecting you to answer to all this - but could you let me know if I've got a handle on this yet Smile
Thanks for clarifying some of the terminology too - that has helped alot.

Cheers Elven x



Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jun 6 2008, 9:17am

Post #35 of 70 (853 views)
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Geez. Thanks for smoothing out the wrinkles [In reply to] Can't Post

I just can't get my head around this stuff, but your explanation makes it clearer for me.

You'd think now that NL has essentially been absorbed by Warner, they'd want to resolve the issue and settle the dispute; not only for pr, but because it's the "right" thing to do. The thought of Christopher Tolkien (and the entire family) having this aggravation continue for several years (or even one) adds insult to injury, imho.



sample sample
Trust him... The Hobbit is coming!

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."


TORn's Observations Lists


Lost Hobbit
Rivendell


Jun 6 2008, 12:30pm

Post #36 of 70 (852 views)
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Sad [In reply to] Can't Post

So sad to hear all this..Don't want Christopher to stop Hobbit. We appreciate everything he did, but he can't just smash everything. Who can we rely on? Maybe some of his relatives who can tell him it's not a good thing for Tolkien fans to destroy their hopes for a movie.



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 6 2008, 1:51pm

Post #37 of 70 (842 views)
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Um... [In reply to] Can't Post

since the producers haven't paid the Tolkiens the millions of dollars they're owed for The Lord of the Rings, why should they be allowed to make The Hobbit before they do so?

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Jun. 2-8 for "Flotsam and Jetsam".


Aelfwine
The Shire

Jun 6 2008, 2:29pm

Post #38 of 70 (880 views)
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It would be New Line's fault, and no one else's [In reply to] Can't Post

IF the Hobbit movie(s) get stopped, it will be due solely to New Line's fraudulent attempts to avoid paying what they owe to The Tolkien Trust.* Put the blame where it lies.

* Just as, earlier, NL made a fraudulent attempt to avoid paying Peter Jackson what he was owed. I remember how sympathetic everyone here was to Jackson; where is the similar sympathy for The Tolkien Trust (which, after all, is a charitable organization, not a private individual)?

Carl F. Hostetter


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 3:21pm

Post #39 of 70 (844 views)
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Yes, You Have a Good Handle On What the Allegations Are [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Elven. I'm not going to respond to your post piece by piece; I think that would end up getting too confusing. Generally speaking, you do have a good handle on what the allegations are.

The issue with the fraud cause of action is not whether the Plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded (argued) that New Line has made misrepresentations; they certainly have (and I think that that allegation is likely to be supported by the evidence, although that is irrelevant at this stage of the game). The real issue is whether the plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded that they relied on those misrepresentations to their harm. They are arguing that New Line's misrepresentations caused them to "refrain from taking action to protect their interests." The problem with that argument is two-fold. First, there is no indication that the plaintiffs ever believed the representations, and in fact they have been arguing about this since shortly after FOTR came out. But that is an issue of fact which shouldn't determine the demurrer. More important at this stage is the fact that they HAVE taken effective steps to protect their interests by filing this action. Even if they could successfully argue that the misrepresentation delayed their filing of the action, I don't see what harm they can argue that caused them, since they would still be entitled to whatever damages the breach of the contract caused, plus applicable interest.

Looking at the Complaint again, however, there is one allegation that I think they can rely on to successfully support the fraud cause of action, and ironically they have Peter Jackson to thank for it! At the very end of the fraud cause of action, they allege "on information and belief" that New Line has "destroyed documents to prevent the discovery of the true facts favorable to the plaintiffs." This is a direct reference to Jackson's suit, in which New Line was sanctioned for failing to produce documents. The plaintiffs may be able to successfully argue that the delay caused by the misrepresentations allowed New Line to destroy evidence, thus making it impossible to determine the true extent of the breach. That doesn't really seem to be their argument, though. There argument seems to be that the misrepresentations allowed New Line to retain millions of dollars that they were owed, and that that harmed them. I've never heard of such an argument being successful in converting a breach of contract case into a fraud case, but I haven't researched the question thoroughly, and more importantly I am familiar with California law, and this case is to be determined under New York law. The same basic legal principles should apply however.

As for the breach of a fiduciary duty, the plaintiffs allege that a fiduciary duty exists because the relationship between the parties is "a long-standing relationship of trust and confidence." I just don't see that has being sufficient to give rise to a fiduciary duty. But the court might want to give the plaintiffs and opportunity to expand on that. We'll see.

It is fairly rare for a cause of action to be thrown out on a demurrer, but I wouldn't be surprised if that happened here. But the case will still go on.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

(This post was edited by Voronwë_the_Faithful on Jun 6 2008, 3:22pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 3:31pm

Post #40 of 70 (845 views)
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It Doesn't Quite Work That Way [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
since the producers haven't paid the Tolkiens the millions of dollars they're owed for The Lord of the Rings, why should they be allowed to make The Hobbit before they do so?



N.E.B., the Tolkiens aren't actually asking to stop The Hobbit movies while it is determined how much money they are owed for LOTR. Pursuant to the language of the Agreements, they don't have the right to do that. The Agreements specifically provide that are not entitled to any kind of revocation until there has been a "final determination" by a court that there was a material monetary breach of the agreement. So they can't obtain any right to stop The Hobbit films until a final determination has been made that New Line owes them money for LOTR.

I don't think that there is any chance that a court is going to put the brakes on a project that will already we well on the way by the time any such final determination is made.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 6 2008, 3:56pm

Post #41 of 70 (825 views)
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Thanks for clarifying. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Jun. 2-8 for "Flotsam and Jetsam".


Elven
Valinor


Jun 6 2008, 4:28pm

Post #42 of 70 (837 views)
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There's a movie in this ya know ... LOL!! ... [In reply to] Can't Post

The Ultimate Stand and Deliver ...


Thanks once more!
I can only assume there are documents which haven't seen the light of day - and some which will never see the light of day - I'm sure both sides have them - which will draw out as this progresses. I think the plantiffs are going in with as much ammunition as they can - possibly its the reason they waited so long as well.

I know there wasn't much said on Peter case, and how it came about that New Line ended up paying Peter ... but after thinking about some of the claims, especially those where New Line did some 'forward accounting' ie: made claims for spending on receipts and payments that they did not pay - I wonder if through that audit there was a 'forward payment made out to Peter, which was never recieved, or something like that - a tally of reciepts. The Plantiffs claim that New Line is with-holding money, and in doing so are acting as a surrogate trust. Now it would be interesting to know if within those receipts (from the last audit) they found payments which have never been made to the plantiffs.
Im just trying to get my head around the idea of why the plantiffs see NL as an involuntary trust - or holder of this money which the plantiffs need to calculate that they are owed. Yet on the money side of things, it seems also that NL have now been downsized and 'scattered' (both staff & paperwork - both critical to the case). I wonder if this downsizing also see's their Market Value drop - so NL on paper, is not worth as much as it was. Im assuming this was a strategy of consideration on Warners behalf. Though this being a matter where individuals might become liable personally, I have the impression that they couldn't wait to shakes Shaye and Lynnes hands and wave them off.
Wonder which island they're hiding out on? Smile

We will no doubt get some news soon enough.
Im just hoping it will be a reputable report if it comes through the media.

Thanks Voronwe!
Cheers Elven


Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



Sunflower
Valinor

Jun 6 2008, 10:36pm

Post #43 of 70 (819 views)
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Precisely. [In reply to] Can't Post

I stand by my earlier argument that NL/Warner's might be far less confident about this case than they used to be, simply b/c the Estate has proved to be far more resilent and stubborn. The effective destruction of NL has not had the desired effect; (making them "just go away") in fact just the opposite. And that the Defendants (the Studios) are using tactics like the Demurrer and Motion to Strike (for starters) to delay the case--if they can't get it thrown out--so that the project will move forward as much as possible, and the judge will see how much far the project has come and take a "things are now in motion that cannot be undone" argument and pressure the Estate to settle out of court for a much-reduced sum, which ideally, from their POV, CT would take, just as Jackson settled for a far less sum than what he asked for in his suit.

Unfortunately for the Studios, CT has nothing to lose in a sense, as Jackson did. He was eager to move forward with other projects and get the Hobbit finally underway, and he was willing to make concessions as long as he was granted a set of conditions of his own--involdement as Exec Prodcuer and the right to pick his own director, Final Cut and complete creative control on the films, etc, (I'm guessing.) Which NL was too happy to grant if he would just GO AWAY. Which, once he settled, he did. The Estate, on the other hand, is not offering a carrot with the stick (and why should they? And what would they grant? They're a charity. And they have nothing to offer, and why should they? It was they who were stiffed.) So from the Studio's POV there is nothing to bargain with, and no quarter to give (in a fighting sense.) And as for media interpretation, even though CT may not interpret it this way--he is merely acting on behalf of his affairs and concerns, which lie far outside Hollywood--he is representing the "presecuted creative type" similar to a striking writer or actor, from the Studio POV. And he is being treated just as contemptuously.

I feel that this case may turn out to be one of the most important Hollywood court battles since Olivia De Havilland successfully won her landmark battle to free herself from an oppressive Studio system that locked her into a contract to complete films she did not wish to. Many argue that that case was the beginning of the end of the Studio System of the golden era and ultimately led to its breakup. If CT was just asking for monies from LOTR that would be bad enough. But asking for profits from the upcoming films...if he won this, from the Studios' POV it would set a horrible precident, in that in the future, "creative types" could sue their studios for creative accounting abuses--which are part of the system going back to the beginning of Hollywood-- and win. It would open the door to a potential flood of lawsuits from "abused creative types"...again, from their POV. Which would be like opening Pandora's Box. So that is why I (sadly) feel that NL/Warners will NOT back down...there is too much at stake. It is a philisophical thing, and all about studio power., and the underpinnings of the way business is done by the studios. And the very high profile of the case makes it all the more dicey. The ramifications are HUGE.

What's 7.5 % of 2 billion? Some $150 million dollars? And that's just box office, theatrical returns. That's not counting ancillary profits, merchandise, potential profits from DVD's etc. Which could be a whole 'nother case in itself.

So that is why I am following this with such apprehension. I honesty don't see where it will end.

BTW.....I want to add my thnaks to the chorus! Voronwe, you're a peach! Kristen Thompson should see this thread!


(This post was edited by Sunflower on Jun 6 2008, 10:43pm)


Beren
Bree


Jun 7 2008, 12:09pm

Post #44 of 70 (784 views)
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your answer is exactly what i was thinking! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Carl! Finally saying the correct thing... I always find it strange how the media can leave out some of the most important facts. It is indeed 'Tolkien Trust' versus 'New Line' and the Tolkien Trust is not 'only Christopher Tolkien' and is a 'charitable organization'... which means no profit for the Tolkien family, but profit for those in need! If the Hobbit movies get's stopped then only New Line's greed is to blame!


In Reply To
IF the Hobbit movie(s) get stopped, it will be due solely to New Line's fraudulent attempts to avoid paying what they owe to The Tolkien Trust.* Put the blame where it lies.

* Just as, earlier, NL made a fraudulent attempt to avoid paying Peter Jackson what he was owed. I remember how sympathetic everyone here was to Jackson; where is the similar sympathy for The Tolkien Trust (which, after all, is a charitable organization, not a private individual)?

Carl F. Hostetter


'It is fulfilled. Even now a Silmaril is in my hand.' - tolkienlibrary.com


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jun 7 2008, 3:35pm

Post #45 of 70 (781 views)
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Not True That It Means No Profit for the Tolkien Family [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sorry to keep throwing a wet blanket on people's cherished beliefs, but it simply isn't true that Christopher and the other family members are suing solely on behalf of the charitiable Tolkien Trust. They are suing both in their capacity as trustees of that trust, and in their capacity as trustees of the "J.R.R. Tolkien 1967 Discretionary Settlement" which is a private discretionary trust, "whose beneficiaries are descendents of J.R.R. Tolkien." How any proceeds would be split between the Tolkien Trust and the Tolkien Discretionary Settlement I don't know, but if it all were to go to the Trust, there would be no need for them to specify that they are suing in their capacity as trustees of the Discretionary Settlement.

It really would behoove people to check their facts before they get too high on their horses.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 7 2008, 3:54pm

Post #46 of 70 (779 views)
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Oh, behoove! [In reply to] Can't Post

As ever, your sharp eye for the details is much appreciated. To me it doesn't matter, though: whether New Line cheated Tolkien's heirs or a charitable organization, they should pay. Aelfwine's comparison to the Peter Jackson suit is apt. However, I take exception to this part of Aelfwine's statement:


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I remember how sympathetic everyone here was to Jackson; where is the similar sympathy for The Tolkien Trust...



On these boards, there were about as many people grumbling about Peter Jackson's greed then as about Christopher Tolkien's greed now --wrongly in both cases, by my lights-- and I think the consensus on TORN in both instances has been that New Line is at fault.

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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor


Jun 7 2008, 5:50pm

Post #47 of 70 (769 views)
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I Agree Completely [In reply to] Can't Post


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As ever, your sharp eye for the details is much appreciated. To me it doesn't matter, though: whether New Line cheated Tolkien's heirs or a charitable organization, they should pay. Aelfwine's comparison to the Peter Jackson suit is apt.

Yes, I agree completely. I have no objection at all to the Tolkien family and the publishers filing this lawsuit, and I believe that in all liklihood New Line wronged them (as they did Jackson, as well as, perhaps most objectionably, some of the lesser known actors that participated in the films). My guess is that the biggest obstacle to settlement at this point isn't agreeing to a monetary figure for the breach of the agreement as to the LOTR films as much as it is agreeing to a formula to ensure that the plaintiffs are paid what they are owed for the new films without having to have repeat performance.

Edited to add: I also want to reiterate that I find the media campaign to malign Christopher Tolkien disgusting and unconscionable.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

(This post was edited by Voronwë_the_Faithful on Jun 7 2008, 5:54pm)


Elven
Valinor


Jun 7 2008, 6:11pm

Post #48 of 70 (748 views)
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Hear! Hear!! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



Sunflower
Valinor

Jun 8 2008, 12:30am

Post #49 of 70 (738 views)
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I thought.... [In reply to] Can't Post

that I had sprinkled my post with enough "from the Studio's POV" statements to make it clear that what I was typing was not MY opinion, but my post was so long I guess it was confusing. My apologies. *Sigh*.

Voronwe, *of course* you are right that in reality it is the Estate that has "more to lose" than the Studios or Jackson do and did. They may have more time to wait than Jackson did; they didn't have projects moving foreward etc, but you are right, there is more at stake. It's important for them to get satisfaction here, b/c there are abuses of accounting and trust, and there are monumental Crimes against Art, which this falls under. This concerns their families' rightful income, past present and future. They don't deserve the treatment that recording artists still get (and this is so much bigger.)


As for people on here railing against PJ's greed...my mind boggles. I am well aware, for example, of certain sectors of the NZ media highlighting the seeming dual nature of PJ (hero to his actors, vs savvy businessman)....I am NOT singling out NZ BTW, it's just the first example that comes to mind! :)--but this beggars belief. Since when does an artist not deserve what he or she should be paid? He would not have bought the suit if he did not have a problem. And it was also Saul Zaentz and a LOT of the LOTR cast---as evidenced by the fact that nobody showed up for the NL 40th anniversary party. It wasn't PJ's greed; it was the fact that unlike everyone else in Hollywood who routinesly gets screwed, he actually put up a fight. They're not used to that. It comes I think of his not being of the Hollywood system and maybe not knowing better, his being an outsider. But thank God for such "recklessness", I say. IMO, his (semi) successful outcome clearly encouraged the Estate...now if would just bear some resultsCrazy


diedye
Grey Havens


Jun 8 2008, 4:33am

Post #50 of 70 (777 views)
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This could get real ugly... [In reply to] Can't Post

A snippet from The Times Online:


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This weekend, JRR Tolkien’s family should know the date they go into legal battle against New Line. The Warner Brothers-owned studio grossed $6 billion from The Lord of the Rings and yet, according to Hollywood’s voodoo accountants, still failed to make any profit to split with the Tolkiens.

To nonlegal eyes, the case favours the Tolkiens. But there is a wild card to be played – Christopher Carrie, who claims he was molested as a boy in a Birmingham church by Tolkien’s oldest son, Father John Tolkien, a scoutmaster, who denied it all before his death in 2003.

This week, Carrie is in LA after meeting John Schulman, top lawyer at New Line-Warner Bros, about turning his religious encounters into a movie. If this were a Hollywood fantasy movie, of course, the evil studio bosses would merely leak the prospect of a film in a newspaper diary, and the clan would slink away like Gollum. But they didn’t, and $160m is at stake. So expect it to get orcish, with some big, scary lawyers on the warpath.

//


Who in their right mind would fork over any amount of money to make a movie on something that hasn't been 100% proven and opens them to even more lawsuits?!

*bangs head on desk*

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