SAN FRANCISCO — A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel late Friday rejected an appeal by file-locker site Oron.com to unfreeze its assets worldwide and stay enforcement of a $550,000 judgment.
The three-judge panel denied Oron's emergency motion for a stay and ordered that no further filings shall be accepted in the case, which it described as closed.
"Petitioner has not demonstrated that this case warrants the intervention of this court by means of the extraordinary remedy of mandamus," the panel said.
In the appeal, Oron attorneys contended that the federal court in Las Vegas committed multiple errors before and after the two parties signed a settlement deal over copyright infringement charges. Corbin Fisher was seeking $34.8 million at the outset of the case.
Specifically, Oron counsel said that the district court issued an order directing PayPal to satisfy gay adult company Corbin Fisher's $550,000 judgment without the opportunity to file a reply in support of its motion to stay enforcement and without a hearing.
"First, as a procedural matter, Oron was entitled to be heard on its motion for a stay ...," Oron attorneys wrote in the appeal to the 9th Circuit. "It was a violation of due process for the district court to rule on [Corbin Fisher's] motion for order directing PayPal to satisfy judgment immediately when Oron had an earlier-filed motion to stay execution pending. The district court’s order to PayPal rendered Oron’s ... stay motion moot, without giving Oron an opportunity to fully brief or be heard on that motion.
"Second, as a legal matter, Oron is entitled to a stay of execution. In the ordinary course of proceedings, a party could file an appeal, post a bond, and ask the district court for a stay of judgment ... while the appeal was pending. Upon posting a sufficient bond or obtaining from the court an order disposing of the need for such a bond, and showing either a probability of success on the merits or that serious legal questions are raised, a stay pending appeal would be granted.
"In this case, however, the district court’s asset freezing orders effectively denied Oron access to any of its funds worldwide, such that it was unable to fund an appeal or post an appellate bond."
Oron attorneys also claimed in the appeal that none of Oron’s assets should have been frozen at the outset of the case in connection with a temporary restraining order.
"Nor should the district court have continued that asset freeze in its subsequent orders, especially without providing Oron with an opportunity to object to and be heard on what in effect became an injunction to secure payment for [Corbin Fisher's] judgment and potential attorneys fees award."
"A TRO cannot continue indefinitely unless it meets the standards required for a preliminary injunction," Oron counsel said. "In this case, however, the district court vacated the hearing on [Corbin Fisher's] motion for preliminary injunction while at the same time extending the relief provided by the TRO indefinitely, without providing any explanation of why such a sweeping freeze order should issue other than to imply that funds held in Oron’s accounts might be needed to satisfy a fees and costs motion that [Corbin Fisher] could file."
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro sided with Corbin Fisher and entered a $550,000 judgment against Oron and its operators.
Navarro said that Oron attorneys indeed entered into an enforceable contract with Corbin Fisher counsel Marc Randazza of Randazza Legal Group.
"The settlement letter written by defendant was an offer, accepted by plaintiff when its counsel signed the letter," Navarro said in her ruling. "There was a meeting of the minds as to all material terms on July 5 ... ," Navarro ruled at the time.
Since the judgment, Navarro hasn't unfrozen any of Oron's assets because the company hasn't provided the court with an itemized statement and worldwide accounting of all of its assets.
Oron's operators have been slugged with additional copyright infringement claims recently.
Last month, another gay adult entertainment company, Flava Works, filed copyright infringement claims in Chicago against Oron, as well as FileSonic.com and 26 file-locker customers, accusing them of illegally distributing the company's videos.