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We should probably add a new section to this website called Lawsuit Blend, considering how many legal fiascos involving Hollywood figures are always popping up. This week has already seen a few of them, but the one that has our ear constantly perked is the battle between Quentin Tarantino and Gawker. The two sides are battling over the leak of the writer/director’s The Hateful Eight script, which was going to be his next project before somebody he trusted betrayed him. With a little bit of the back-and-forth wrangling behind us, Gawker is now trying to flip the script (so to speak) by asking for the case to be dismissed, claiming the California court handling the case doesn’t even have jurisdiction over Gawker’s parent company. Location, location, location.
Here’s how that breaks down. Tarantino’s suit is against Gawker Media Group, Inc., and says that their website Defamer "crossed the journalistic line" by being the first site to link to the illegally leaked script, thus spreading it to the public. Gawker founder Nick Denton is claiming that because the Gawker Media holding company is actually located in the Cayman Islands, California lawmakers have no right to go after them. Furthermore, he claims the parent company has absolutely nothing to do with any material published on the website, as it is solely responsible for "equity securities in its subsidiaries."
So it would be like someone trying to sue the parents of Cinema Blend overlord Josh Tyler for something that one of us underlings put on the site. Here’s how Gawker's claim read in the motion to dismiss, via THR.
"This Court lacks personal jurisdiction over [Gawker Media Group, Inc.], a Cayman Islands corporation which is not subject to general jurisdiction because it does not have any continuous and systematic contacts with California and is not subject to specific jurisdiction because it does not publish the website at issue in plaintiff’s Complaint and was not involved in any way with the researching, writing, editing, or publishing of the article that is the subject of plaintiff’s Complaint."
Will this put an end to the case? Probably not. A footnote in the brief says that neither Gawker Media nor Gawker Entertainment are contesting personal jurisdiction, but that GE was dissolved as a company last year, and that "counsel for the parties have reached an agreement that Gawker Entertainment, LLC is not a proper party to this action." Any way they try to spin it, it doesn’t seem likely that Tarantino is going to let this all fade away without looking like the victor in some way. I mean, he’s already better off than Hulk Hogan, whose court case against Gawker over a clip from his sex tape was ruled in the site’s favor. Plus, more people than ever really, really want to see The Hateful Eight get made.
By the time you’ve finished reading this, there may very well be a handful of countersuits being drafted, and we’ll be sure to tell you about them. For now, check out this fanmade mash-up trailer for Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.