NEW YORK (CN) – A film production company sued the attorney of the deceased co-conspirator in a “pizza bomber” case that inspired a Netflix series Friday, claiming he is depriving the company of the exclusive rights to the woman’s life story.
Beverly Hills production company Last in Line Pictures sued Pittsburgh-area attorney Douglas Sughrue in New York County Supreme Court on Friday afternoon, claiming Sughrue is wrongfully withholding information given to him by Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in preparation for her criminal trial on conspiracy and bank robbery charges.
Represented by Catherine Savio of Fox Rothschild, Last in Line seeks to compel Sughrue to turn over four hours of audio and video footage of Diehl-Armstrong discussing her role in planning the infamous heist, in which an on-duty pizza deliveryman robbed a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a bomb strapped around his neck. The bomb went off during the robbery, killing the would-be thief Brian Wells.
Diehl-Armstrong, who was accused of masterminding the robbery and was widely believed to have planned to let Wells die during the theft, was sentenced to life plus 30 years in a Texas federal prison for her crimes. She died in prison in 2017.
According to the lawsuit, Sughrue amassed hours of audio, video and handwritten notes in the course of preparing his client’s defense.
Last in Line Pictures says Diehl-Armstrong granted it exclusive rights to all of that information through a life rights agreement, noting it had already received considerable tidbits of information from Diehl-Armstrong about her defense in trial, both verbally and in writing.
“Among other things, MDA specifically discussed defendant’s case notes and legal advice, discussions between MDA and defendant concerning her defense in the collar-bomb case, and the contents of defendant’s case files with the plaintiff,” Last in Line says in its lawsuit, referring to Diehl-Armstrong as MDA.
“MDA also provided plaintiff with numerous documents containing hand-written notes discussing the facts, investigation and strategy surrounding defendant’s defense of MDA in the collar-bomb case. Importantly, many of the documents that MDA provided to plaintiff bear the title: ‘Confidential: For Your Investigation & Diehl-Armstrong’s defense,’” the company says in its lawsuit.
On the heels of the success of Netflix miniseries “Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist,” Last in Line wants to produce more programming about the life of Diehl-Armstrong. She was also reportedly charged with killing her boyfriend and stuffing his body in a freezer and is said to have suffered from mental health issues.
But the media company says its hands are tied until Sughrue turns over the material Diehl-Armstrong promised before she died.
According to the lawsuit, Diehl-Armstrong waived Sughrue’s attorney-client privilege both verbally and in writing the life rights agreement.
Nonetheless, the company says, Sughrue continues to deny access to the information.
Last in Line seeks a declaration it is entitled to the materials in question, and an order compelling Sughrue to turn them over.
Neither Sughrue nor Savio, Last in Line’s attorney, responded to voicemails seeking comment by press time.