2:26pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Stan Lee Media Can't Revive Billion-Dollar Lawsuit Against Disney
Is it all over Stan Lee Media?
While the company abandoned by comic book genius Stan Lee has proven that decision after decision won't deter it from attempts to vindicate rights to iconic superheroes like Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-Man, Tuesday's ruling against SLM from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals feels like the final nail in the coffin barring any unexpected intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court.
SLM has been on a litigation rampage for the past few years over assets it believes were improperly raided in bankruptcy more than a decade ago, but a phalanx of judges have now ruled that the company and its shareholders are collaterally estopped from making arguments previously adjudicated.
In October, Stan Lee Media lost a ruling at the 9th Circuit against Stan Lee himself. At the time, the appellate circuit declared that SLMI's ownership claims deriving from a 1998 Agreement with Lee were "simply implausible."
On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit says essentially the same thing, reviewing the dispute de novo, and refusing to revive SLM's billion dollar lawsuit against Disney for alleged copyright infringement. A district judge's 2013 ruling stands against arguments that SLM never got a full and fair opportunity to litigate the ownership issue.
"We are not persuaded," writes 10th Circuit judge Timothy Tymkovich. "The Ninth Circuit, based on the briefing before it, found the plausibility argument to be the most persuasive, concluding that Stan Lee Media could not satisfy the federal pleading standard on its request for a declaration of ownership rights. This is a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue by any standard."