UPDATE (2/28): Superman, Marvel and Winnie the Pooh
UPDATE (3/1): Did Hermione curse Superman’s lawyers?
Petrocelli is perhaps best known for his work in several high-profile trials, including a major intellectual property case involving a cartoon character. Besides defending Enron CEO Jeff Skilling in a case that has reached the Supreme Court and helping the Goldman family win a multimillion dollar judgment against OJ Simpson, Petrocelli successfully defended the Walt Disney Company in a long-running dispute over the royalties from Winnie the Pooh.
Time Warner’s decision to bring on such a high-profile litigator as its new outside counsel would seem to signal that the company does not expect a settlement with the Siegel family in the foreseeable future. It’s equally possible that the hire is itself a negotiation tactic, as it’s not unusual for a party in a lawsuit to bring in big name counsel in an attempt to intimidate a seemingly intractable opponent.
Whatever its effect on the Siegels and their own high-powered counsel, the move to Petrocelli is a serious loss for DC’s previous outside counsel, Weissmann Wolff Bergman. The firm had previously succeeded in defending the company in Winter v. DC Comics, a right of publicity action in which the California Supreme Court ruled that a Jonah Hex parody of celebrity musicians was protected by the First Amendment.