Porn Studio Fluffed Case With Forged Signature
CHICAGO (CN) - A hardcore porn producer committed an "egregious fraud" on the court to win its copyright case, a federal judge ruled, finding that it had forged a rival's signature on a contract.
The case began as a "pitched battle between two competing producers and purveyors of truly hardcore pornographic materials," U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur said. It ended with "the most egregious fraud on the court that this court has encountered in its nearly 33 years on the bench."
In a September 2011 complaint, Flava Works charged Lee Momient, Jr. with infringing on its copyright.
Last month, in answer to a counterclaim, Flava Works produced a document for the first time in which Momient agreed to "work made for hire" terms.
This piece of evidence could have decided the case in Flava's favor, but Momient immediately declared that the document was a forgery.
He claimed that the signature on the purported work contract was actually a signature from a different document, and at oral argument, he presented "indisputable" evidence that his signature had been lifted and placed on the bogus document.
"What, then, is the appropriate judicial response to such an egregious abuse of the judicial system by such a blatant fraud on the Court?" the judge asked.
"Fortunately courts are rarely called upon to consider fraud-on-the-court conduct of the type engaged in by Flava," Shadur continued.
"This court anticipates the dismissal of Flava's TAC [Third Amended Complaint] and its action against Momient with prejudice. But although it is difficult to conceive any predicate for Flava's refutation of the skillfully-put-together presentation that demonstrates its fraud, this court will give Flava the opportunity to do so."
Shadur also said Flava may face financial sanctions for its actions.
"And although nothing that has taken place before this court suggests that Flava's attorney Meanith Huon would have played any role in the fraud discussed here, inquiry may perhaps be directed to him both to confirm that and to provide information as to the generation of the bogus document," the judge concluded.
Flava Works CEO Phillip Bleicher said his team will "prove that Lee Momient gave us the document that we submitted to the court."
"Lee Momient has been filing dozens of questionable pro se lawsuits (and a fraudulent bankruptcy last November) including one where he sued several federal judges and their law clerks," Bleicher said in an email (parentheses in original). "We also found out (from his counter-claim) that he illegally copyrighted a Flava Works film - 'Dorm Life 5' as his own work in 2005."