Home LIFESTYLE Style News Stan Lee Files $1 Billion Lawsuit Against the Company He Co-Founded

Stan Lee Files $1 Billion Lawsuit Against the Company He Co-Founded

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Stan Lee is fighting to regain control of his identity. On Tuesday, the 95-year-old comics legend filed a $1 billion lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against POW! Entertainment, a company he co-founded. Lee is suing the company and its officers for fraud and conversion, essentially claiming its officers stole his “identity, name, and likeness,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Lee claims that when the company was acquired in 2017 by Hong Kong-based company Camsing International Holding, POW! C.E.O. Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion didn’t disclose the details of the deal. Last year, he claims, the duo and his ex-business manager Jerardo Olivarez purportedly asked Lee to sign a non-exclusive license with POW!, T.H.R. reports, which ended up being a “fraudulent” agreement that gave the company “the exclusive right to use Lee’s name, identity, image, and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity.” Lee is also embroiled in a separate lawsuit with Olivarez, having claimed in April that the ex-business manager was one of many “unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants, and opportunists” who sought to take advantage of Lee after the death of his wife, Joan. Olivarez did not respond to T.H.R.’s request for comment.

In the complaint against POW!, attorney Adam Grant wrote that Lee “does not recall anyone reading the Illegitimate Document to him, and, due to his advanced macular degeneration, he could not have read it himself.” The degeneration rendered Lee legally blind in 2015.

“While the Illegitimate Document purports to contain Lee’s signature, Lee never knowingly signed it,” Grant continued. “Either Duffy, Champion, Oliveraz [sic] or POW! (1) forged Lee’s signatures; (2) lifted Lee’s signature from another document and imposed it on the Illegitimate Document; or, (3) someone, likely one of the Defendants, induced Lee to sign the Illegitimate Document by using a bait and switch tactic: telling Lee it was something else.”

Though the comic universe he created has only gotten bigger—especially with the recent release of Avengers: Infinity War—Lee’s legal and personal troubles have seemingly risen in the last few months, particularly following the death of his wife. In early April, T.H.R. reported that Lee was the victim of alleged elder abuse, and that various battles were raging within his estate. Olivarez is quoted in the piece saying that he helped Lee after Joan’s death. “I had looked out for him during recent contract negotiations with Pow!,” he told T.H.R.. “He gave me a check as a thank-you.”

Two days after the report, POW! issued a letter expressing concern over “disturbing news reports” and the “upheaval“ in Lee’s life.

“We, like you, simply want Stan to enjoy life, connect with his fans when he is able, and most importantly spend his time going forward without impediment or stress,” the statement read.

Per his current lawsuit, Lee is “seeking an injunction declaring the agreement invalid and unenforceable and damages in excess of $1 billion,”T.H.R. reports. POW! has not responded to Vanity Fair’s request for comment.

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