Today the seemingly endless Superman heirs copyright suit might have truly leaped its final bound. Just over a month after lawyer Marc Toberoff petitioned the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing of its November 21, 2013 opinion in favor of Warner Bros, the court has said no. “The panel has voted unanimously to deny the petition for rehearing,” said the order issued today. In saying no, the 9th Circuit closed the door on any more requests from the heirs of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster. “The petition for rehearing and the petition for rehearing en banc are DENIED. No further petitions for panel or en banc rehearing will be entertained,” said the one-page order. Long story short: That’s the end of the road for Toberoff and the Shuster heirs.
The December 10, 2013 2-1 opinion reaffirmed a District Court decision supporting the position of DC Comics and its corporate parent Warner Bros that Mark Warren Peary of Shuster’s estate couldn’t file a copyright termination notice 11 years ago. WB claimed a 1992 agreement with Shuster’s siblings, in which they were to be compensated $25,000 a year for life, already delivered their Superman rights to the company.
That decision last month and now today’s rehearing denial has celestial word eating implications for Peary and his lawyer. In his deposition in the case, the Shuster heir said that Toberoff told him that WB would never win the case. “I’ve only considered that like I would an asteroid hitting us and wiping out life on earth,” Peary said on losing his bid for part of the lucrative Superman rights. Look up in the sky, it’s…well, with previous rulings over the last year in the case between DC/WB, the Shuster estate and the heirs to Supe’s other creator Jerry Siegel, this looks to be finally over.
Warner Bros and DC Comics were represented in this and in other aspects of the Superman case by Daniel Petrocelli and Matthew Kline of LA firm O’Melveny Myers.
Deadline’s Dominic Patten – tip him here.