Hollywood Heist: How a Burglary May Impact the Future Of 'Superman' (Analysis)
Last year, Warner Bros. sued Toberoff for tortiously interfering with its rights, claiming he engineered an improper arrangement between the Siegels and Shusters not to make any deal with the studio.
At the time the lawsuit was announced, Toberoff put out a statement that hinted at some shenanigans: "Warner oddly attached to their complaint an anonymous, inadmissible letter spewing unsubstantiated and unattributed accusations against Mr. Toberoff," he wrote in the third person. "The anonymous letter was supposedly included with a large pile of privileged documents that were brazenly stolen from Mr. Toberoff's law offices and mysteriously arrived at Warner Bros.' doorstep in the midst of this billion-dollar litigation."
All of that is true. We've confirmed it.
A declaration Toberoff later gave identified a perpetrator. The theft of those documents came from "a disgruntled attorney" employed by his own firm. That lawyer (whose name we've decided to withhold) allegedly called all of Toberoff's clients in an attempt to win their business with reduced fees. It didn't work, so the alleged culprit gave Warner Bros. some ammunition to destroy Toberoff.
After the documents were taken, what did Toberoff do?
He called law enforcement, which launched a criminal investigation.
Federal prosecutors, buttressed by grand jury subpoena powers, then asked Toberoff to identify the precise nature of the documents stolen from him. Toberoff talked. (Legal scholars can debate the wisdom of such a move. More on that in a bit.)
And after the documents were delivered, what did Warner Bros. do?The studio returned the cache of documents, although a judge let it keep the aforementioned letter, which included a key timeline of Toberoff's dealings over the years. Did anybody at the studio peak at the documents? Were copies made? That's hard to know for sure. But Warner Bros. knows some of Toberoff's secrets, which likely influenced the decision last year to sue Toberoff for tortious interference. Next: What's in those documents; Plus, Ari Emanuel!