LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The daughter of the late comic book legend Stan Lee is facing a $1 million penalty for filing legal claims that were resolved long ago, according to Los Angeles federal court papers obtained today.
In his order Thursday, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright held Joan Lee's attorneys liable for 25% of the sanction, or $250,000.
Lee filed suit last September against POW! Entertainment, the company responsible for marketing her father's image and intellectual properties, claiming that the founders of the company misappropriated his image and misled the artist into believing he had retained the rights to his name and likeness.
In her complaint, Lee -- the trustee for the Lee Family Survivor's Trust -- alleged that her father's business partners Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman aimed to ``loot'' the artist's intellectual property through their company.
Stan Lee -- who built Marvel into a comics powerhouse by co-creating characters such as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and Iron Man -- died in November 2018 at age 95.
According to the lawsuit, he formed Stan Lee Entertainment in 1998 and hired Champion and Lieberman to help run the company. His daughter alleged that the two men then engineered the collapse of SLE and devised a contract in which they eventually took control of her dad's intellectual property rights.
In his ruling, Wright wrote that it was ``completely unreasonable'' of Lee "to file a suit premised on an issue debated and analyzed in more than five federal district courts over the last decade.''
In August, the Lee estate announced it had severed ties with Camsing International, parent company of POW! Entertainment, following the arrest of the Hong Kong firm's CEO amid fraud allegations.
In May 2018 -- six months before his death -- Lee filed a $1 billion lawsuit against POW!, accusing Champion and others of orchestrating the Camsing acquisition a year earlier, even suggesting that his signature was forged on some of the documents and that the deal was made without his consent.
The suit also accused the company of hijacking Lee's ``identity, name, image and likeness'' and taking over his personal social media accounts. That lawsuit was later settled.
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