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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Tolkien Trust can move ahead with Fraud claim on New Line

Elven
Valinor


Sep 25 2008, 2:05am

Post #1 of 21 (6512 views)
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Tolkien Trust can move ahead with Fraud claim on New Line Can't Post

Just spotted this article relating to the ongoing Lawsuit between The Tolkien Estate and New Line ...

http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_10548148

Quote
Judge rules Tolkien trust can move forward with fraud claim Daily News Wire Services Article Launched: 09/24/2008 02:19:11 PM PDT

"Lord of the Rings" creator J.R.R. Tolkien's charitable trust can move forward with a fraud claim against New Line Cinema, a judge has ruled.
However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones threw out the plaintiffs' contract reformation claim, saying they waited too long to file it.


Not much more news is in the article, but it is interesting that the contract reform claim was filed too late.

Cheers
Elven



Were off to Hobbiton finally!

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

Avatar: Liberace - The other Lord of the Rings.
Quote of The Week: A I LOVE cats and I love TV. And I love to watch cats on TV. Ron Perlman



(This post was edited by Kimi on Sep 25 2008, 3:58am)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 25 2008, 3:46am

Post #2 of 21 (3572 views)
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Right again :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for posting that, Elven. Last I checked, the court's website was still saying only that the matter was "submitted."

Would it be unseemly for me to point out that this was exactly what I predicted after reading the plaintiff's opposition to the demurrer? Even after I read New Line's reply, I still predicted the judge would overturn the demurrer as to the fraud claim (the important one) but sustain it as to the reformation claim (less important in the grand scheme of things).


In Reply To
it is interesting that the contract reform claim was filed too late



That is because the contract is so old, and New York has a strict statute of limitations of six years on reformation claims. The plaintiffs would have had to have challenged the clause in question by 1974. Wink I don't think it will matter much, however, because I don't think the court will interpret the contract as saying that only 2.5% instead 7.5% should be due on TTT, as New Line is arguing.

What is really interesting is that New Line didn't even raise this issue on the first demurrer.


By the way, your link doesn't work for me

'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 Sep 25 2008, 3:55am)


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 25 2008, 3:59am

Post #3 of 21 (3382 views)
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I fixed the link. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the article, Elven.


My writing (including The Passing of Mistress Rose)

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Mar
Gondor


Sep 25 2008, 4:01am

Post #4 of 21 (3420 views)
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This is all very interesting I'm sure [In reply to] Can't Post

although, I have no idea what any of that actually means!

As Gimli would say: Speak words we can all understand :)

Most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don't get too comfortable - fall asleep and miss your life.


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Sep 25 2008, 5:12am

Post #5 of 21 (3428 views)
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Congrats on being right! ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

No, that's not unseemly - it only proves once again that you know what you're talking about! It's good to know we have someone here who can foretell the outcome on every round Wink

Just out of curiosity, how will that continue now?

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

(This post was edited by Peredhil lover on Sep 25 2008, 5:14am)


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Sep 25 2008, 5:15am

Post #6 of 21 (3449 views)
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Thanks, Elven! [In reply to] Can't Post

Had already wondered how long it would take for us to learn what happened on Monday!

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


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 25 2008, 11:02am

Post #7 of 21 (3418 views)
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I have NO idea what that means. At all. [In reply to] Can't Post

What does it bode for The Hobbit + Film 2?

Does this (Lord of the Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien's charitable trust can move forward with a fraud claim against New Line Cinema) mean that the TT can indeed go ahead and claim that NL did not pay them whatever they were contractually obliged to? And if so, then what were they doing until now? I thought this was what the whole lawsuit was about Unsure

And what does this (However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones threw out the plaintiffs' contract reformation claim) mean? I would google it, but the last time I tried making sense of an LOTR lawsuit by googling, I eventually found myself looking at images of PJ and Bob Shaye at the ROTK premiere. The irony of it all Tongue

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

(This post was edited by Earl on Sep 25 2008, 11:04am)


Smeagirl/Girllum
Gondor


Sep 25 2008, 1:29pm

Post #8 of 21 (3466 views)
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It means [In reply to] Can't Post

the Tolkien estate said -- "the contract was written wrong, and doesn't really reflect what the parties agreed to." And New Line was like, "Well if that's the case, why didn't you say something, I dunno, back in 1969 or thereabouts?" And the court was like, "Yeah, New Line has a good point!"

And the estate also said "New Line totally ripped us off!" and New Line was like, "No we didn't." And the court was like, "well, maybe you did, let's figure this out."

Cool

This is my understanding from the article anyway, I haven't read these most recent court papers.



"I have tried to catch him once or twice at night; but he is slier than a fox, and as slippery as a fish. I hoped the river-voyage would beat him, but he is too clever a waterman."





Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 25 2008, 2:54pm

Post #9 of 21 (3432 views)
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Let Me Take a Shot at Explaining [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Earl. Yes, this stuff can be confusing. Let me try to answer your questions. But I'm going to answer your first one last, if that's okay.



In Reply To
Does this (Lord of the Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien's charitable trust can move forward with a fraud claim against New Line Cinema) mean that the TT can indeed go ahead and claim that NL did not pay them whatever they were contractually obliged to? And if so, then what were they doing until now? I thought this was what the whole lawsuit was about Unsure

What this means is that the plaintiffs (the Tolkien trusts, as well as the publishers) can do MORE than just claim that New Line did not pay them whatever they were contractually obligated to do. Essentially, what the judge (apparently) ruled is that the new allegations made by the plaintiffs were sufficient to take it beyond a simple breach of contract. In essence, the judge agreed with the plaintiffs that what they are now claiming is that New Line didn't just exaggerate the amount of the expenses that they claimed they had in order to avoid paying the plaintiffs pursuant to the contract, they actually applied expenses that had absolute nothing to do with the films in order to avoid paying the plaintiffs. A subtle difference, perhaps, but one with major implications, because now the plaintiffs can request hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages, as well as the money they say they are owed on the contract. Of course, in order to get that, they will have to prove that their allegations are all true, which will be much more difficult than it sounds.

In Reply To
And what does this (However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones threw out the plaintiffs' contract reformation claim) mean? I would google it, but the last time I tried making sense of an LOTR lawsuit by googling, I eventually found myself looking at images of PJ and Bob Shaye at the ROTK premiere. The irony of it all Tongue



One of the very bizarre aspects of this case is that there is an ambiguity in the contracts that could be interpreted as requiring that New Line pay only 2.5% of gross profits on TTT, as opposed to the 7.5% that applies to FOTR and ROTK. A major difference, of course. There is a legal theory called "reformation" in which a party to a contract asks the court to "reform" the contract in order to match what the parties really intended it to say. However, there is another legal concept called the "statute of limitations." This requires that certain types of claims be brought within a certain time. In this case, New York law (the contracts were made in New York and provide that New York law should apply, even though the case is in California) provides for a six year statute of limitations for reformation claims. Since the contracts were created in 1968, in order for the plaintiffs to have successfully asked for reformation, they would have had to have done it by 1974. So they were 34 years too late. Wink


In Reply To

What does it bode for The Hobbit + Film 2?



That's the question we are all most interested in, isn't it? So of course I left it until last. First of all, none of these legal maneuvers directly relates to the plaintiffs claim that they should be give the right to rescind New Line's rights to make the Hobbit films. That question legally can not be answered until the rest of the case is decided. However, I believe that in practical terms, this decision may well make it more likely that a settlement will be reached, which will take that possibility off the table altogether. Since Warner's now knows that there is still a possibility that New Line could be held liable for those extra hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages, they may be that much more willing to pony up enough money to settle. And since the plaintiffs know that they will not be able to get the court to reform the contract, they know that there is a possibility that what they could get in the end could be less than what they wanted. So they also have more motivation to settle. In all likelihood, that is what will happen. But don't look for it to happen anytime real soon.

The bottom line is, I continue to believe that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that this lawsuit will prevent the Hobbit films from happening, or even delay them.

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


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 25 2008, 3:30pm

Post #10 of 21 (3374 views)
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Is it just me... [In reply to] Can't Post

... or did that ALL just make perfect sense? Cool

Thanks so much Voronwe, you're simply the best. Your explanations made everything as clear as the waters of Kheled-zaram. Ok, I've gone too far. But no. Seriously. I've got such a clear picture of what this all entails I can actually explain it to someone (provided I can find anyone interested Tongue).

Should someone be PMing the admins so that they can perhaps put up a brief summary of the stuff you mentioned on the home page? I'm sure lots of people would be interested in knowing how the September 22 proceedings came along. And this here post by you is as good as it gets. You're after all our resident expert on such matters.

{{Thanks again Voronwe}}

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 25 2008, 3:35pm

Post #11 of 21 (3389 views)
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LOL [In reply to] Can't Post

Now I can sit back and laugh (after reading Voronwe's post; before I understood it all, I might've failed to see some of the humour in that one). That's as brief and hilarious a summary one might hope to find. I know I'm cracking up Sly

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Mar
Gondor


Sep 25 2008, 4:09pm

Post #12 of 21 (3349 views)
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Ah, ha! I get it. Thanks for interpreting in 'plain speak' for me. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don't get too comfortable - fall asleep and miss your life.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 25 2008, 4:15pm

Post #13 of 21 (3343 views)
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Glad to be of service!! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 25 2008, 11:50pm

Post #14 of 21 (3420 views)
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No punitive damages!!!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I have just read an A.P. article which stated that despite ruling that the fraud claim can go forward, New Line can not be held liable for punitive damages. Apparently (according to the article), under New York law punitive damages are only available if the plaintiff can demonstrate a "public wrong" and the court found that the plaintiffs were not able to do that in this case. We have no such equivalent rule in California, and I have been assuming that all along that the motion to strike the punitive damages claim would follow the demurrer on the Fraud claim. I was apparently wrong about that.

So even though the court upheld the fraud cause of action, New Line will likely not be held liable for any additional damages than they would on the breach of contract claim. That's a big surprise to me. Sorry for leading y'all astray.

link

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


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Sep 26 2008, 5:14am

Post #15 of 21 (3341 views)
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:( [In reply to] Can't Post

That's confusing that you have different laws in different states - here the same laws are used for every state of Germany.

Anyway, that's a pity. I'd really, really like NL to have to pay punitive damages - they deserve it *grumbles*

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


Nickey08
Bree


Sep 26 2008, 6:48am

Post #16 of 21 (3356 views)
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This sucks.... [In reply to] Can't Post

MadMadMadMad


Quote
The lawsuit also claims the studio built production offices and facilities in New Zealand and listed them as expenses for the “Lord of the Rings” films, although the heirs claim they are now being used for other New Line projects.


http://www.myspace.com/nickeydrayer


AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Sep 26 2008, 7:14am

Post #17 of 21 (3350 views)
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And does the abolishing of punitive damages [In reply to] Can't Post

further decrease or eliminate the possiblity of the estate gaining the right to cancel filming?

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 26 2008, 1:26pm

Post #18 of 21 (3323 views)
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It doesn't affect it directly [In reply to] Can't Post

What it might do is encourage New Line to fight to the bitter end, knowing that that the damages that they are potentially liable for are limted (relatively - we are still talking about tens of millions of dollars). On the other hand, it might encourage the plaintiffs to be more willing to settle; based on the legal filings it may be that they are the ones that are taking the hard line in settlement negotiations. It's really hard to say.

I still think that the case will settle, and that the Hobbit films won't be threatened.

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


Lúthien Tinúviel
Bree


Sep 26 2008, 8:38pm

Post #19 of 21 (3306 views)
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ú estel.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope this means they have to stay more True to the Books this time....

The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinúviel was dancing there
To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering.

There Beren came from mountains cold,
And lost he wandered under leaves,
And where the Elven-river rolled
He walked alone and sorrowing.
He peered between the hemlock-leaves
And saw in wander flowers of gold
Upon her mantle and her sleeves,
And her hair like shadow following.

Enchantment healed his weary feet
That over hills were doomed to roam;
And forth he hastened, strong and fleet,
And grasped at moonbeams glistening.
Through woven woods in Elvenhome
She tightly fled on dancing feet,
And left him lonely still to roam
In the silent forest listening.

He heard there oft the flying sound
Of feet as light as linden-leaves,
Or music welling underground,
In hidden hollows quavering.
Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves,
And one by one with sighing sound
Whispering fell the beechen leaves
In the wintry woodland wavering.

He sought her ever, wandering far
Where leaves of years were thickly strewn,
By light of moon and ray of star
In frosty heavens shivering.
Her mantle glinted in the moon,
As on a hill-top high and far
She danced, and at her feet was strewn
A mist of silver quivering.

When winter passed, she came again,
And her song released the sudden spring,
Like rising lark, and falling rain,
And melting water bubbling.
He saw the elven-flowers spring
About her feet, and healed again.
He longed by her to dance and sing
Upon the grass untroubling.

Again she fled, but swift he came.
Tinúviel! Tinúviel!
He called her by her elvish name;
And there she halted listening.
One moment stood she, and a spell
His voice laid on her: Beren came,
And doom fell on Tinúviel
That in his arms lay glistening.

As Beren looked into her eyes
Within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies
He saw there mirrored shimmering.
Tinúviel the elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast her shadowy hair
And arms like silver glimmering.

Long was the way that fate them bore,
O'er stony mountains cold and grey,
Through halls of iron and darkling door,
And woods of nightshade morrowless.
The Sundering Seas between them lay,
And yet at last they met once more,
And long ago they passed away
In the forest singing sorrowless.



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 26 2008, 10:07pm

Post #20 of 21 (3301 views)
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Why Would It? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I hope this means they have to stay more True to the Books this time....



I'm curious to know why you would think that it would possibly mean that? What does the lawsuit have to do with how the filmmakers approach adapting the book?

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


sith_mystery
Registered User

Oct 2 2008, 8:08pm

Post #21 of 21 (3163 views)
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Good question... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm actually kind of glad they didn't stay TOO close to the book... Somehow, I don't think a singing, dancing fat guy in a top hat, blue coat, and yellow boots (Tom Bombadil) would translate too well to the screen... Wink

On another note, thanks to Voronwe for the clear explanation of the latest in the legal maneuverings... I always laugh at articles written about legal proceedings - it's always written as if everyone is intimately familiar with the labyrinthine legal process here in the states. If it weren't for knowledgeable people like Voronwe, most of us would still be scratching our heads wondering if this is the end of "The Hobbit"...

 
 

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