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By CARLOS PEDRAZA | MAY 31, 2019 | 7 MIN READ
 
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The situation: CBS and Viacom take another step closer to a possible re-merger of the companies that own two pieces of Star Trek. Shares in the two companies shot up amid reports they'll begin formal merger talks in June. Also: More media companies appear to be joining Netflix and Disney in threatening to suspend film production in Georgia in the wake of its new anti-abortion law. Among them: NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, CBS, Showtime, AMC Networks, Sony Pictures, STX and Viacom. Axanar Productions is based in Georgia.

1. Peters ‘Victory’ in Burnett Suit Dissolves Once Fact-Checked

PETERS' CLAIM that he won his lawsuit against former Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett isn't holding up, according to court records. Watch this excerpt from Axanar: Confidential where Peters gets it wrong.
No victory. In bold claims this week on Axanar: Confidential and the Axanar blog, producer Alec Peters says he won his suit to get back digital assets from former director Robert Meyer Burnett.
  • It ain't so. We reported yesterday the claims were dubious, based on Georgia law on civil procedure, but now we have confirmation from the court clerk's office in Gwinnett County, Ga.
  • Failure to file. Peters based his boast on Burnett's apparent failure to file his answer to Peters' legal complaint on time. Peters told viewers Monday:

“So I sued him, and we won because he didn't show up in court. He didn't file a response.”
  • No default judgment. However, court records show Peters has yet to file for a default judgment, which requires a ruling by a judge. The clerk's office said no such request appears on the judge's default calendar. Typically, such filings include a draft order for a judge to sign specifying awards in the case. No such order has been filed, according to the clerk's office.
Obfuscation and confusion: The misunderstandings and mis-timings surrounding this case partly stem from extended maintenance work on the county's electronic court records, which have been rendered out of date online.
  • Failure to serve. While Burnett had 30 days to file his response, it's unclear precisely when that countdown began, given the trouble Peters had serving his former friend with legal papers.
  • An affidavit of proof of service notified the court on April 16 that Burnett had been served on March 22. Normally, the 30-day clock starts ticking on that date of service.
  • Not this time. Trouble is, Peters' attorney didn't file the affidavit within five days of service, as prescribed by the court; he waited 25 days. Therefore, under state law, the countdown didn't begin until April 16.
  • Failure to communicate. Burnett's lawyer, Torin Dorros, tells AxaMonitor he couldn't get confirmation of when the affidavit was filed because of the court's computer problems, and because Peters' lawyers repeatedly refused to respond to Dorros' letters and phone calls.
  • Here comes the judge. That forced Dorros to reach out directly to the judge to intervene. "Only then did we receive a short email from Mr. Peters’ counsel stating that our letters and emails asking for them to contact us and trying to settle this matter did not warrant a response. To date that lone email is the single communication we have received from Mr. Peters’ counsel."
Bottom line: Peters victory boast is wrong, and Burnett appears to have won more time to file his answer to Peters' suit. We'll publish the response as soon as it's filed with the court.
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2. Correspondence Shows Peters’ Lawyers are Avoiding Settlement Discussions in Burnett Case

Repeatedly rebuffed. Robert Meyer Burnett's lawyer, Torin Dorros, has tried many times to get Axanar producer Alec Peters' attorneys to discuss ways to resolve the pair's dispute without having to go to court. Dorros has gotten nothing but silence in return.
  • Peters' public protestations that he'd offered the former Axanar director a "sweetheart deal" to settle are at odds with his attorneys' refusal to communicate with defense counsel.
  • Not worth replying — that's why Peters attorney H. Michael Dever says Dorros hasn't heard back from him. That was at Peters' direction, Dever says in the single email he sent Dorros:

“As to your lengthy letters, they failed to contain any meaningful response to settlement and I saw no need to respond to a nonsubstantive offer. … My client felt there was no need to respond with a counter offer since there was no real offer in any of your letters.
  • What prompted Dever to finally reply? Apparently, Dorros seeking intervention by the judge in the case. "The fact that it took a letter to the judge to finally get a response after more than two months is, shall we just say, confusing and concerning," Dorros wrote Dever.
  • Dorros did make an offer: to negotiate a settlement. "Your client wants certain Axanar assets to resolve this matter," Dorros wrote. "I have several times explained that this is something the parties likely can figure out but they need to be on the same page. That is not remotely possible if one side does not respond to the other."
  • Full text of the correspondence between the two sides' attorneys will be published in a follow-up article on AxaMonitor.com.
Why this matters: In public, Peters touts his efforts to settle with Burnett, but in private he's avoiding discussing any settlement offer. AxaMonitor's own legal analyst describes the offer on the table as far from the "sweetheart deal" Peters says it is.
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3. Ares Studios Patreon Monthly Tumble Comes Early

At least one big donor dropped out this week from Alec Peters' effort on Patreon to get fans to pay his rent on the warehouse he calls Ares Studios.
  • Monthly churn. That's the term Patreon users employ to describe the fall-off on the first of each month when donors re-evaluate if they're getting their money's worth supporting Patreon projects.
  • Most of May's progress erased. A $100 drop in just one day, May 29, erased almost all the progress the Ares Patreon made since the last  drop-off at the beginning of the month.
  • Watch our for June 1. We'll post the Ares Studios' Patreon numbers tomorrow.
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Short Takes: A symptom of what ails the movie business? CBS All Access' Twilight Zone, Good Fight go meta. Video of Nichelle Nichols screaming at her son over conservatorship.

What's wrong with the Trek movies? Was Chris Hemsworth's real reason for not signing onto the fourth Kelvinverse Star Trek film an indication of what's wrong with movies today? Or is it just a sign that Trek's real home is on the small screen, where the franchise thrives once again. CBR.com has something say about it.

Twilight Zone's season finale reignites debate over art vs. entertainment. From IndieWire. Meanwhile, another CBS All Access show, The Good Fight, gets a shot on CBS' on-air broadcast network. The Good Wife spinoff has won raves from critics and audiences as the first show to anchor CBS' fledgling streaming platform, with its mixture of drama and absurdist commentary on life in Trump's America. XXX reports.

‘He's not the boss of me!’ Diagnosed with progressive dementia, Lt. Uhura actress Nichelle Nichols is upset with her son for taking control of her affairs, and a video showing their confrontation has gone viral. Fans worry about her as she makes reportedly one last round of convention appearances this year. From TMZ.

Go deeper: We reported May 7 on concerns raised about an Indiegogo campaign enlisting Nichols' participation in a documentary about her, to be shot later this year on the former Star Trek Continues sets in Kingsland, Ga.
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Find Us on Super Geeks

Join AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza every week on the Super Geeks podcast, and Geek of Thrones review show, both on Subspace Radio, Mondays  at 8 p.m. PST/11 p.m. EST. If you miss it live check the "rewind" section for recorded episodes. Super Geeks is hosted by George Silsby. Check out the Facebook page, The Real Super Geeks.
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