Image via WikipediaU.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Crotty has tossed a protracted $2 billion lawsuit that spread from N.Y. into Colo. and Calif. brought by shareholders against legendary comic book creator Stan Lee and Marvel Entertainment, according to www.law.com.
Judge Crotty's 14-page decision in Jose Abadin & Christopher Belland derivatively on behalf of Stan Lee Media, Inc. v. Marvel Entertainment, Inc., Marvel Enterprises, Stan Lee & Arthur M. Lieberman (Case No. 09-cv-0715) denied the plaintiffs leave to file a second amended complaint and granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the suit in its entirety.
New investors, who acquired Stan Lee Media Inc., which declared bankruptcy in 2001, alleged that the corporation Lee established with a former partner owned the rights to comic book superheroes including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Spider-Man. The plaintiffs alleged Lee wrongly transferred the ownersip rights of these formidable characters to Marvel Entertainment in 1998.
Judge Crotty ruled the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they were not shareholders when the purported improper transfer occurred. Moreover, Judge Crotty held the plaintiffs' attempt to enforce their rights a decade after the fact violated applicable statutes of limitations, which not even the brute strength of Wolverine and the Hulk can overcome.
No doubt the plaintiffs are pretty "Thor" about the decision.