After 5 Years, Extreme Associates Case 'Running its Course'

Tom Hymes
PITTSBURGH — According to an article posted this week on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website, the Extreme Associates obscenity case, which is in its fifth year, has stalled. But Extreme attorney H. Louis Sirkin says that, to the contrary, the case is running its course.

However, Sirkin did tell XBIZ that certain delays have taken place due to unavoidable scheduling conflicts with U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster, who is presiding over the case.

"The last time we had a telephone conference, the judge was getting ready to undergo a very long trial, so he said that he was willing to give us some alternate dates to have some additional hearings on some motions," Sirkin said. "Our understand is that that trial ended up with a hung jury, and that they started again and that it’s on a delay now."

Sirkin added that they are still waiting to have a routine status conference call, the agenda for which was unclear.

"I don’t what [Lancaster] wants to talk about, but maybe we will pick a motion hearing date and also some day in the future as to a possible trial date, I don’t know," he said.

Sirkin did say that the calendar does not bode well for concluding any major business this year.

"I’m not even sure we’ll have any oral hearing on the remaining motions that the judge wanted to have before the end of the year," he said.

One outstanding motion has to do with clarifying the definition of "community" with respect to Internet distribution of adult material, something Sirkin believes is certainly on the agenda for the next oral hearing, whenever it takes place.

"Yes, that’s what [Lancaster] wants [to talk about] and of course the case law in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has improved for us with the recent COPA (Child Online Protection Act) decision," he said, adding that because there is no established consensus as far as Internet distribution is concerned, the manner in which this case deals with the issue should be of interest to courts around the county.

"It’s a very interesting questions, especially for every judge around the country who I think will pay attention to the argument that when dealing with the Internet the marketplace becomes a much different thing," Sirkin said.

When asked whether he believes Lancaster is interested in dealing directly with the question, Sirkin answered unequivocally.

"Absolutely," he said, repeating, "Absolutely."