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BRIARPATCH LTD., L.P. v. GEISLER ROBERDEAU

March 26, 2002

BRIARPATCH LIMITED L.P. AND GERARD F. RUBIN, PLAINTIFFS,
V.
GEISLER ROBERDEAU, INC., PHOENIX PICTURES, INC., MICHAEL MEDAVOY, AND TERRENCE MALICK, DEFENDANTS. ROBERT GEISLER, JOHN ROBERDEAU, BRIARPATCH FILM CORP., BRIARPATCH THEATRE CORP., PLAINTIFFS, V. STEVEN V. PATE, PATE & PATE ENTERPRISES, BRIARPATCH LIMITED, L.P., GERARD F. RUBIN, AND "JOHN DOES" AND "JANE DOES," DEFENDANTS. ROBERT GEISLER, JOHN ROBERDEAU, STAGE FRIGHT, LLC, SAMUEL MYERS, BRIARPATCH CONSTRUCTION CORP., BRIARPATCH FILM CORP., BRIARPATCH THREATRE CORP., BRIARPATCH RELEASING CORP. AND SANSHO COMPANY, INC., PLAINTIFFS, V. BRIARPATCH LIMITED, L.P., GERARD F. RUBIN, BARRY L. GOLDIN, RICHARD BRICK, "JOHN DOES" 1-5 AND "JANE DOES" 1-5, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.

OPINION

Presently before the. Court are eight motions in three lawsuits constituting the most recent convulsion of litigation that has occupied these parties and their lawyers in this Court, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, and the Bankruptcy Court, Dallas Division, since 1998. The actions are: Geisler, et al. v. Briarpatch Limited, L.P., et al., 01 Civ. 8564(RWS); Geisler v. Pate, et al., 01 Civ. 4767(RWS); and Briarpatch Limited, L.P., et al. v. Geisler Roberdeau Inc., et al., 99 Civ. 9623(RWS).

The motions include:

(1) A motion by defendants Briarpatch Ltd. L.P. ("Briarpatch Limited" or the "Partnership"), Gerard F. Rubin ("Rubin"), Barry L. Goldin ("Goldin"), and Richard Brick ("Brick"), to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., the complaint of Robert Geisler ("Geisler"), John Roberdeau ("Roberdeau"), Briarpatch Film Corp. ("BFC"), and Briarpatch Theatre Corp. ("BTC") in Civil Action 01 Civ. 8564.

(2) A motion by defendants Briarpatch Limited and Rubin to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., the complaint of Geisler, Roberdeau, BFC and BTC in Civil Action 01 Civ. 4767.

(3) A motion by defendant Steven Pate and Pate & Pate Enterprises (collectively "Pate"), also brought pursuant to Rule 12(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., to dismiss the complaint in Civil Action 01 Civ. 4767.

(4) Plaintiff Samuel Myers' ("Myers") motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P., of Civil Action 01 Civ. 8564, with respect to the rights to work entitled "The White Hotel."

(5) Geisler and Roberdeau's cross-motion in Civil Actions 01 Civ. 8564 and 01 Civ. 4767 for the appointment of a receiver and declaratory judgment pursuant to Rule 66, Fed.R.Civ.P.

(6) Briarpatch Limited and Rubin's motion to vacate the clerk's certificate of default pursuant to Rules 4, 12(b) and 55(c), Fed.R.Civ.P., in Civil Action 01 Civ. 4767.

(7) Geisler and Roberdeau's cross-motion in Civil Action 01 Civ. 8564 to disqualify Barry L. Goldin ("Goldin") as counsel pursuant to Disciplinary Rules 5-101, 5102, 5-105, and/or 5-108.

(8) Geisler & Roberdeau's cross-motion to consolidate all three actions pursuant to Rule 42, Fed.R.Civ.P.

For the reasons set forth below, the motions to dismiss Civil Actions 01 Civ. 8564 and 01 Civ. 4767 are granted. The remaining motions are therefore dismissed.

The Parties

Briarpatch Limited is a New York limited partnership formed under a Limited Partnership Agreement, dated January 1, 1994, between Rubin as sole limited partner and, as general partners, five companies owned and operated by Geisler and Roberdeau: Briarpatch Construction Corp. ("BCC"); Briarpatch Film Corp. ("BFC"), Briarpatch Theatre Corp. ("BTC"), Briarpatch Releasing Corp. ("BRC"), and Sansho Company, Inc. ("Sansho").

Rubin is the sole limited and winding up partner of Briarpatch Limited. He is a New York resident, as are Geisler and Roberdeau.

Myers is a former attorney of and an associate of Geisler and Roberdeau.

Brick is an independent film producer whose services Geisler and Roberdeau sought prior to 1999 as line producer for a project known as "The White Hotel."

Goldin is counsel to Briarpatch Limited and Rubin.

Pate, a Texas resident and citizen, was an investor who initiated a claim of fraud against Geisler and Roberdeau.

Morris "Mike" Medavoy ("Medavoy") is the founder and chairman of Phoenix Pictures, Inc. ("Phoenix"), and resides in California.

Terence Malick ("Malick") is a writer and director. His films include "The Thin Red Line," "Badlands," and "Days of Heaven."

Background and Prior Proceedings

Creativity in the film industry is matched by the creativity of counsel to those who seek, to obtain properties and create deals. Although the aforementioned parties have managed to create a flood of litigation in this and other jurisdictions, the actions presently before this Court can be characterized as follows:

(1) Civil Action 99 Civ. 9623 (the "Phoenix Action"), initiated by Briarpatch Limited and Rubin, alleges that Rubin made various investments in several projects, including "The Thin Red Line," "The English Speaker," "Sansho the Bailiff," and "The White Hotel," and that Medavoy and Malick committed various wrongdoings with Geisler and Roberdeau in connection with the development of those projects to the injury of Rubin and Briarpatch Limited. Malick is no longer a party to the action pursuant to a stipulation of dismissal dated October 31, 2001, and Geisler Roberdeau, Inc. was dismissed from the action pursuant to this Court's opinion dated March 1, 2001, Briarpatch Ltd., L.P. v. Geisler Roberdeau, Inc., No. 99 Civ. 9623(RWS), 2000 WL 235284 (S.D.N.Y March 1, 2000).

(2) Civil Action 01 Civ. 4767 (the "Properties Action") involves a settlement mad, among Briarpatch Limited, Rubin, and Pate. It is alleged by Geisler, Roberdeau BFC, and BTC that their employment and literary rights, and their copyrights, in the properties "The English Speaker" and "Sansho the ...


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