U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet ruled recently that Stan Lee Media Inc. (SLMI) cannot overturn court decisions regarding Stan Lee’s settlement of a $1 billion lawsuit against Marvel Enterprises. The court held that its motions were unsupported and time-barred.
Lee was once Marvel’s chairman and CEO. He co-created Spider-Man and many other comic book heroes, such as the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, and Iron Man. In 1999, he co-founded SLMI, “a Web-based production and marketing company to control his intellectual property.” The Hollywood Reporter. Three years later, he sued Marvel for “reneging on his employment contract.” The Hollywood Reporter. The parties reached a settlement in 2005.In 2009, four shareholders of SLMI filed suit against Marvel, Lee, and others for “copyright infringement, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract.” Courthouse News Service. In 2010, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty dismissed the lawsuit because the plaintiffs could not wait a decade to claim their rights. SLMI moved their lawsuit to the Manhattan federal court. There, Sweet dismissed the claims because SLMI could not circumvent the 2010 court decision and it did not have a claim for compensation under the Marvel/Lee agreement.