The battle over Raging Bull is climbing back into the legal ring. The daughter of screenplay writer Frank Petrella asked the courts yesterday (read the brief here) to take another swing at MGM’s recent victory in her copyright infringement suit. Paul Petrella, whose father had the screen credit of Peter Savage on the 1980 film, says that the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s dismissal of her case because she waited to long to initially file is wrong based on recent copyright cases. “The panel’s decision in this case established the Ninth Circuit as the only circuit that fully embraces the laches defense where the copyright statute of limitations operates. The panel’s decision will encourage forum shopping—an issue MGM’s Response ignores when it denies that this issue raises an “overriding need for national uniformity,” says Petrella’s brief for a full rehearing. The Appeals court decision in late August affirmed a District Court ruling that as the heir to her father’s work, Petrella knew of potential claims since 1991. Petralla’s father wrote two screenplays and book on the life of boxer Jake LaMotta. His work, Petrella has alleged since launching her $1 million suit in 2009 against MGM, Fox Home Entertainment and others, formed the basis of the Martin Scorsese-directed film. Petrella is represented by Glen Lance Kulik of Kulik Gottesman & Siegel. MGM and the other defendants are represented by Jonathan Zavin, David Grossman and Robert Catalano and David Grossman of Loeb & Loeb.
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