Leave a Comment
Since the 2018 passing of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, his only daughter, J.C. (Joan Celia) Lee, has been involved in a number of court cases in an effort to reclaim her father’s intellectual property. In the latest decision by Judge Otis Wright II of the Central District of California, her suit against Stan Lee’s company, POW! Entertainment, has been tossed out. Now J.C. Lee has been sanctioned $1 million by the court.
Judge Wright ruled J.C. Lee’s suit was “completely unreasonable” since it was based off the contestation of a 1998 agreement between her father Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment that had been “debated” and “analyzed” in more than five federal district courts over a decade, per The Hollywood Reporter. At the conclusion of the order, Judge Wright said the following:
Stan Lee, a superhero in his own right, served to inspire the everyday hero. The Court urges parties to treat his legacy with respect and cease engaging in meritless litigation.
J.C. Lee certainly lost out big on her case and is now out $1 million due to the verdict, though she is ruling her legal counsel is “jointly and severally liable” for $250,000 in her sanction. A representative of the 70-year-old daughter of the Marvel icon, famous in his later years for his cameos, said this in a statement to Comicbook.com:
The extreme financial sanction imposed by the court for the Estate's effort to protect Stan Lee’s legacy From Control and exploitation by an ex partner that Stan Lee detested and a Chinese Company That used his name to commit a billion dollar fraud in China is incomprehensible.
The suit was brought to the attention of the California courts back in September after a prior kerfuffle involving J.C. Lee alleging that Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, mishandled millions of Lee's dollars and embezzled his artwork. In May 2019, Morgan was charged with elder abuse as a result.
This time around, the court is not siding with J.C. Lee’s claims regarding the creator of Spider-Man and POW! Entertainment. The company’s president, Gill Champion, who co-founded POW! with Stan Lee back in 2001, was pleased with the ruling with these words:
We feel vindicated by the Court’s decision today… We are happy to finally put this ugly litigation behind us and move on to preserving the legacy of this great man and developing the large inventory of intellectual property he left behind. POW!’s commitment to honor and preserve Stan Lee’s legacy has not and will not waver.
Back in the ‘90s, Stan Lee had to file bankruptcy after illegal stock manipulation was discovered to be happening within his production/marketing company Stan Lee Media (Lee was not found at fault in these schemes). Later, Lee decided to co-found POW!, standing for Purveyors of Wonder, and reunited with Marvel during the time when films such as X-Men and Spider-Man started taking ahold of audiences. The initial agreement between Lee and POW has long been the subject of court debate.
Coming up next for POW! is a collaboration with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently announced he will be working on an animated series called Superhero Kindergarten to honor the comic icon’s legacy. The show is based on a prior conversation Lee and Arnold once had and will arrive on Amazon Prime in 2021.
Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more news about what’s coming next with Marvel properties.