Judge: Porn Kings, Falcon Foto Dispute Belongs in Seattle

Michael Hayes
LOS ANGELES — In the ongoing, multi-state legal battle between Porn Kings and Falcon Foto, a federal judge in the Central District of California has ruled that his court is not an appropriate forum for the copyright dispute, sending the case to a federal court in Seattle for adjudication.

In a 16-page order, Judge James Otero ruled that a competing lawsuit filed by Porn Kings Owner Lucas Bradfield in Los Angeles was best suited for the federal courtroom in Seattle where Falcon Foto had filed its infringement claims against several parties, including Porn Kings.

The Los Angeles suit, which Otero dismissed and transferred to Seattle, had sought to affirmatively establish that Noble Developments, which does business as Porn Kings, was not guilty of infringement.

In dismissing and transferring the case, Otero accused Porn Kings attorney Venkat Balasubramani of “forum shopping.”

Falcon Foto attorney Robert Apgood told XBIZ that what Otero called forum shopping was a ruse by Balasubramani to delay the case.

“We told our story to Judge Otero, and he believed us,” Apgood said. “The case is now on track to move forward in Seattle, which is the appropriate venue.”

While the decision was a procedural one, Apgood said Otero’s ruling has an important impact on the Seattle case, which includes the original owners of Porn Kings John Does 1 and 2, subsequent owners Marvad Corp. and Roger Vadocz, Trey Hickey and E-Media Group and current owners Bradfield and Noble Developments.

“Because we are suing in Seattle, we will be able to obtain personal jurisdiction over parties in that area,” Apgood said. “If we weren’t in Seattle, it would be a problem for us because we wouldn’t be able to reach some defendants with this litigation, which would mean that we wouldn’t be able to enforce our rights.”

As a practical matter, the Porn Kings case filed in California is now closed, Apgood said, adding that it will be transferred to Seattle, where he will file a motion to have it joined with the Falcon Foto litigation.

Balasubramani told XBIZ he would continue to vigorously defend the case in Seattle.

“The case will continue in Seattle, where we will continue to contest this lawsuit,” he said. “This is not a ruling on the merits of the case in any way.”