Tolkien Estate Sues New Line, The Hobbit Not Yet Threatened

For discussion of the upcoming films based on The Hobbit and related material, as well as previous films based on Tolkien's work
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Looking at the docket, I see that both sides had two motions to compel discovery taken off calendar, plus the plaintiffs also had a motion to quash a deposition subpoena taken off calendar. There is a stipulation and order to stay the proceedings, continue the summary adjudication motion and extend the time to exchange expert witness info on file, but I haven't seen that. I presume that it must say something about the settlement discussions. But, like you, I've never seen any kind of "commentary" like that on a docket listing. My guess is that it is there to explain the fact that the summary adjudication motion is scheduled to be heard less than 30 days before the still-listed trial date, which is normally not allowed under the California rules of civil procedure.
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Post by Inanna »

english?
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

The two sides have agreed to stop fighting about what information each of them is obligated to give to each other, and to put off the hearing about the issue of whether the Tolkien estate would have right to terminate New Line's rights to make the Hobbit movies if they win the breach of contract claim, in order to see if they can resolve the case by agreeing to a settlement.

Better?
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Thank you! :bow:
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Okay, the news is better.

I have now seen the stipulation that was entered into, and it explicitly states that "the parties have entered into a binding term sheet settling this matter, which term sheet is subject to certain necessary ratifications, which may take up to several weeks to obtain."

In other words, a settlement has been reached, but it needs to be approved by certain unnamed individuals/entities. I'm sure it is a complicated settlement, and I'm relatively sure that it includes specifications to ensure that payments are made on the Hobbit films, so I assume that one of the ratifications needs to come from Warner.

Generally speaking, these kinds of "ratifications" are a formality and the settlement would not have been entered into unless they were pretty much sure that it would be ratified. I would shocked if the settlement did not go through.
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Post by Inanna »

oh, goody. And thanks for the translation. :)
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Post by Primula Baggins »

That's fantastic news, Voronwë. Thanks for being so on top of all this for us nonlegal types. And solicitr, too.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

While it is not a done deal yet, it really is highly unlikely that they would file a stipulation stating that a settlement had been reached unless they were pretty darned confident that it would go through.

I think it is quite interesting that the only places that are reporting the settlement are the sites where I have posted it: here, TORC and TORN. But of course I posted it here first.
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Post by solicitr »

Yep, that looks like a done deal all right. The 'ratifications' may well include plaintiffs' attorneys collecting plaintiffs' John Hancocks, just to remove all doubt that the settlement really was agreed to by all their clients prior to nonsuiting the action. Basic self-preservation.
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Post by Elentári »

Thanks, V, I can sleep a little easier, now ;)
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Post by sauronsfinger »

As the noted radio newsman Gabriel Heatter used to intone "There's good news tonight".

I am very happy to hear about this development. The Estate should get money due to it and we get more movies. Win/win as they say.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

The parties have now jointly released a press release confirming the settlement.

Tolkien estate, New Line settle lawsuit over films
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Post by Elentári »

Great news. :happydance:

The report over on TORn gives the full statement from CT, regarding the HOBBIT Films:
Commenting on the settlement, Christopher Tolkien said: “The Trustees regret that legal action was necessary, but are glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow the Tolkien Trust properly to pursue its charitable objectives. The Trustees acknowledge that New Line may now proceed with its proposed films of ‘The Hobbit.’”
(The line emboldened was not quoted in the Yahoo article.)
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Post by Inanna »

:D
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