DC versus the Lawyer


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JOHN MACDOUGALL, AFP / Getty Images

Even lawsuits get spin-off miniseries.  In Los Angeles on Friday Marc Toberoff asked a judge to dismiss the complaint filed against him personally last May in connection with the long-running legal battle between DC and the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster over reclaiming copyrights.

DC claimed Toberoff was manipulating Siegel and Schuster’s heirs “in an effort to capture a huge share of the copyrights for himself.”

In asking the United States District Court for the Central District of California to dismiss the complaint, Richard B. Kendall, a lawyer for Mr. Toberoff, called it “an absolutely meritless attack” that was meant to undermine Mr. Toberoff’s relationship with the Siegel and Shuster heirs in the wake of a previous victory in court over DC Comics.

Kendell wants the suit dismissed under California’s anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) laws which are meant to prevent intimidating counter-suits.

Toberoff claims he wasn’t involved until negotiations had already ended between the heirs and DC in 2002.  From DC’s filings:

Perhaps most intriguing about DC Comics’ suit against Toberoff was the inclusion of an unsigned document, called the “Superman-Marc Toberoff Timeline,” that spelled out a series of tactics on the part of Toberoff through which he purportedly claimed as “much ownership of the Superman copyright personally as he can.”

The DC suit says that the document was written by an attorney previously employed at Toberoff’s firm. It was delivered to Warner Bros. in 2006 along with a pile of other files that Toberoff says were privileged attorney client documents stolen from his firm.

Toberoff is also assisting the estate of Jack Kirby in their lawsuit against Marvel.  A hearing in the case is set for October 18.