LAS VEGAS — The $34.8 million copyright infringement suit against Oron has turned into a donnybrook, with defense attorneys claiming that there never was a settlement agreement in place while serving up personal attacks on Corbin Fisher's counsel.
Not only that, Oron attorneys claim the gay adult studio is aiming further efforts to "extort" attorneys fees from the file-trading site.
David Kahn, an attorney for Oron, told the court yesterday that Corbin Fisher general counsel Marc Randazza has made himself crystal clear that he would "prefer to kill Oron altogether and keep all $3 million" of Oron's assets frozen by the courts in Las Vegas and Hong Kong.
Kahn, is local counsel to Oron's chief counsel, attorney Stevan Lieberman, in Washington.
"As has been the case throughout the relatively short life of this litigation, plaintiff once again relies on misstatements, half-truths and an inaccurate recitation of the 'facts' to support what is, at heart, a baseless motion," Oron counsel told the court. "While plaintiff wishes the court to believe that Oron has 'backed out' of an enforceable settlement agreement, that is simply untrue."
Contrary to Corbin Fisher's claim, Oron said, it was plaintiff — not Oron — who terminated the parties' settlement discussion based on that failure to reach agreement.
"Plaintiff has conveniently forgotten to inform the court that the parties never reached a meeting of the minds as to the scope of the settlement, and thus there is no settlement for the court to enforce," Oron counsel said.
Oron attorneys claim talks broke down between Oron and Corbin Fisher after Randazza took the position that Oron's reported chief operator, Maxim Bochenko, would not be part of the proposed $550,000 settlement.
"Despite the overwhelming evidence that there was never an agreement as to a settlement between the parties, plaintiff nevertheless has the temerity to move to enforce this settlement agreement and to move for attorneys fees," Oron lawyers said.
Oron counsel told the court that Oron's options are limited. He characterized the situation as a Hobson's choice, where free choice in which only one option is offered.
"Simply stated, this motion, as well as plaintiff's motion for attorney's fees are nothing more than the next phase in plaintiff's efforts to extort payment from yet another victim — in this case Oron — who is faced with the Hobson's choice of resolving meritless claims brought by plaintiff or suffering continued slander of its business in the media," Oron attorneys said.
But Oron counsel's next message to the judge bordered on outrageous as he launched an attack on Randazza and his Las Vegas-based law firm, Randazza Legal Group, leveling charges over his "type of conduct" in past cases.
"A brief Internet search suggests that plaintiff and its counsel have engaged in this type of conduct repeatedly and without shame," Oron attorneys said.
"Indeed, their conduct here appears to be typical of their approach to 'litigation' — trump up baseless claims of infringement against companies or individuals, seek to freeze their corporate victim funds where possible so as to force them out of business or threaten draconian financial sanctions against individuals, seek to freeze their corporate victim funds where possible so as to force them out of business or threaten draconian financial sanctions against individuals who plainly cannot afford to fight back, and slander and defame (or threaten to do so) their victim to their customers, and the Internet community at large, so as to either force a settlement or destroy their victim's business entirely.
"Plaintiff's counsel's unscrupulous efforts here — including the admittedly meritless claim that Oron's website contained child pornography — typify his modus operandi in other cases and should not be condoned or permitted," he said.
Both Randazza and Kahn declined comment over yesterday's filing, which opposes enforcing a settlement agreement and an award of attorneys fees to Corbin Fisher's counsel. Lieberman did not return XBIZ calls.
But adult industry attorney Allan Gelbard of Encino, Calif., told XBIZ that Oron counsel's attack on Randazza and his firm are beyond bounds and that the motive by Oron is a calculated attempt to distract from the main tenets of the suit.
"I can say that I have never seen the type of petty personal attacks on counsel as the defendants' lawyers have launched in these papers," Gelbard said. "Obviously, I am a friend of Marc Randazza and have worked with him before.
But "I can tell you that I have never seen or even heard of him making any deliberate misrepresentations to the court or opposing counsel. Marc is a smart, thorough and resilient litigator.
"All this personal stuff seems — to me — to be an attempt to distract the court from deciding the underlying issues. I can tell you the most judges do not take kindly to these sorts of things and I would not be surprised if he sets an order to show cause on some of these outrageous contentions."
So far, the three-week-old case already has 45 motions, responses and orders in its history.
A federal judge will hear from both sides at U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Aug. 9.