Looks like it’s going to be a while before Quentin Tarantino and Gawker face off in court after all. Just less than two weeks before a motion to dismiss hearing, a federal judge today set a trial date of January 27, 2015 for the director’s copyright infringement lawsuit over the site’s promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved screenplay The Hateful Eight script. That’s a year to the day from when Tarantino filed his $1 million suit against the website. Of course, that estimated three-day jury trial may not happened at all as Judge John F. Walter also moved the matter to private mediation. The judge has given the two sides until September 8, 2014 to complete the mediation, during which the parties will be able to conduct discovery and prepare their cases as a scheduling and case management order (read it here) from the judge today outlines. Of course there’s no promise that Tarantino’s lawyers and Gawker’s attorneys will work anything out in their heated dispute by then, but it does take the April 14 hearing on Gawker’s motion to dismiss the case off the calendar, which certainly lowers the immediate temperature.
Today’s orders come a day after the parties presented a joint report to the court estimating a four- to seven-day trial, and two days after Gawker responded to Tarantino’s response to its March 10 motion to dismiss the case. Gawker basically said the director is going after the wrong party, that his argument “misconstrues, misunderstands, and misstates” the law and part of the reason he’s suing is because of the Oscar winner’s “displeasure with Gawker’s past and present reporting about him.” Bet that’s going to be a topic of some discussion in the mediation.
Marty Singer, Henry Self III and Evan Spiegel of LA’s Lavely & Singer are repping Tarantino in the case. Robert Penchina and Thomas Curley of the NYC and Washington DC offices of Levine Sullican Koch & Sclutz are representing Gawker Media LLC and Gawker Entertainment LLC. Kevin Vick and Jean-Paul Jassy of LA’s Jassy Vick Carolan LLP are also attorneys for the defendants.