Toberoff & Associates has secured positive results for its clients in numerous high-profile matters. The following is a sample of some of the more noteworthy matters:
In Re Estate of James Brown, Case No. 2018-001990, 2020 WL 3263381 (S.C. June 17, 2020). Mr. Toberoff successfully represented the children of the iconic singer-songwriter James Brown in an action that made its way all the way to the South Carolina Supreme Court. In June of 2020, the Supreme Court rendered a unanimous decision in favor of the Firm’s clients that Brown’s alleged “widow” was not his lawful spouse, putting an end to over a decade of legal wrangling. As a result, Brown’s children now control and enjoy 100% of the benefits conferred upon them by the U.S. Copyright Act.
Horror v. Miller, Case No. 18-3123-cv, 335 F. Supp. 3d 273 (D. Conn. 2018): Mr. Toberoff successfully represented Victor Miller, author of the original screenplay for the horror classic Friday the 13th. After the film’s success, Miller was left in the dust by his best friend, producer Sean Cunningham, who went on to produce 11 sequels without him. The Firm secured a very favorable ruling in the District Court of Connecticut, upholding Miller’s Notices of Termination under Section 203(a) of Copyright Act and the recovery of Miller’s original Friday the 13th copyright. A copy of this interesting decision is available here.
RCF, Inc. v. Robinson et al., 919 F.Supp.2d 1054 (C.D. Cal. 2013). Mr. Toberoff successfully represented the children of the legendary singer-songwriter Ray Charles. The Firm prevailed in a suit that saw its clients recover via the Copyright Act’s termination provisions, the U.S. copyrights to many of Charles’ most famous compositions. A copy of this important decision is available here. The decision was later reversed and remanded by the 9th Circuit, on purely procedural grounds, and soon settled on confidential terms.
Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Kirby, 726 F.3d 119 (2d Cir. 2013): Mr. Toberoff successfully represented Jack Kirby’s heirs in a major lawsuit vs. Marvel (i.e., Disney) regarding the iconic comic book franchises Kirby created or co-created, including The X-Men, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer, and many more. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which expressed interest in the Firm’s petition for certiorari (noted by the prominent SCOTUSBlog as a “Petition to Watch”). The Firm secured amicus briefs from all the Hollywood Guilds (WGA, DGA and SAG), the former Register of Copyrights, the former Commissioner for Trademarks, PEN USA, plus 237 illustrators (11 of whom were Pulitzer Prize winners). Once the Supreme Court demanded a response from Marvel, the case quickly settled. Jack “The King” Kirby is finally credited for his creations, alongside Stan Lee, in all of Marvel’s derivative films.
Siegel v. Time Warner Inc., et al., Case No. 04-8400 SGL (RZx), (C.D. Cal. 2008): The Firm successfully represented the widow and daughter of Jerry Siegel, Superman’s co-creator. Mr. Toberoff secured a favorable summary judgment ruling upholding the recapture “after 70 years” by Siegel's heirs of “what he granted so long ago – the copyright in the Superman material that was published in Action Comics, Vol. 1.” This historic copyright ruling still stands today. The landmark case entailed 10 years of hard-fought litigation by the Firm, including multiple appeals, until settling in 2016 on confidential terms. A copy of the above decision is available here.
Classic Media, Inc. v. Mewborn, Case No. 06-55385, 532 F.3d 978 (9th Circuit 2008): Mr. Toberoff overturned summary judgment in favor of Classic Media, and won summary judgment in favor of the daughter of Eric Knight, author of the beloved children’s book, Lassie Comes Home. The published 9th Circuit decision re-affirmed the rights of authors and their families to terminate prior grants of copyright, “notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary.” A copy of this important decision is available here. The case was settled on confidential terms.
Moonrunners Limited Partnership v. Time Warner Inc., et al., Case No. 05-1361 GAF (VBKh), (C.D. Cal. 2005): Mr. Toberoff successfully secured a preliminary injunction against Warner Bros.’ distribution of the motion picture The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) just prior to its scheduled release in a case that sent shock waves through the Hollywood studios. The case was thereafter settled on confidential terms. A copy of the extraordinary decision is available here.
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