Stan Lee files suit against former company

Superhero creator and legend Stan Lee has filed a lawsuit in excess of $1 billion against a company he co-founded....

Posted: May 16, 2018 10:29 PM
Updated: May 16, 2018 10:29 PM

Superhero creator and legend Stan Lee has filed a lawsuit in excess of $1 billion against a company he co-founded.

The suit, filed Tuesday Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Pow! Entertainment conspired with two employees to steal Lee's identity.

Suit was filed Tuesday against company he helped form in 2001

It says defendants took advantage of Lee's grief and poor eyesight

According to the lawsuit obtained by CNN, Pow! Entertainment CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion "conspired and agreed to broker a sham deal to sell POW! to a company in China and fraudulently steal Stan Lee's identity, name, image, and likeness as part of a nefarious scheme to benefit financially at Lee's expense."

The complaint centers around the 2017 sale of the company to Hong Kong-based Camsing International.

Lee, Champion, and Arthur Liberman formed Pow! Entertainment in 2001, the suit states.

Lee, who helped create Black Panther, Iron Man, the X-Men and countless other Marvel characters in comic books and on the big screen, was led to believe he had entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Pow!, according to the complaint.

Lee says the defendants fraudulently obtained his signature, allowing Pow! Inc. to gain "the exclusive right to use Lee's name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity."

The complaint also states that Duffy, Champion and Lee's former business manager Jerardo Olivarez (who is not named as a defendant in the suit) took advantage of his grief over the death of his wife of 70 years, Joan B. Lee, last year and his poor eyesight due to macular degeneration.

Related: Joan Lee, wife of Stan Lee, dies at 95

In the suit, Lee alleges that Olivarez managed to convince him to sign a power of attorney to gain control over Lee's assets.

Duffy and Champion have not responded to CNN's request for comment.

"The allegations are completely without merit," read a statement from Pow! Entertainment. "The notion that Mr. Lee did not knowingly grant POW! exclusive rights to his creative works or his identity is so preposterous that we have to wonder whether Mr. Lee is personally behind this lawsuit. There is no question Mr. Lee -- who, along with his daughter, was and remains a substantial POW! shareholder -- clearly understood the terms of the agreements he signed. The evidence, which includes Mr. Lee's subsequent statements and conduct, is overwhelming and we look forward to presenting it in court."

CNN has reached out to Lee for comment.

"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 complaint states.

Lee filed a separate suit against Olivarez in April, alleging fraud and financial abuse of an elder.

CNN was unsuccessful in attempts to reach Olivarez.

But in April, Olivarez denied to The Hollywood Reporter that he had misappropriated Lee's funds.

"Mr. Lee told me I had given him a new lease on life after Mrs. Lee's passing," Olivarez said. "I had looked out for him during recent contract negotiations with Pow! [Entertainment]. He gave me a check as a thank-you."

In the days after his wife's death, the suit alleges that certain individuals took great advantage of Lee by firing his banker and his longtime lawyers, along with transferring almost $5 million out of one of his accounts, forging a $300,000 check, and buying a $890,000 condo.

The suit follows an investigative piece by The Hollywood Reporter about possible elder abuse involving Lee, who is 95.

A tweet from Lee's official Twitter account on Tuesday referenced identity theft.

"Help! Someone has hijacked my Facebook and Instagram," the post read. "I want everyone to know whoever is writing them is a fraud and is impersonating me. How do I get them back? Can you guys help?"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 148387

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9953104
Hinds9892198
Harrison7045110
Jackson6270119
Rankin5462102
Lee501095
Madison4734106
Forrest380586
Jones354888
Lauderdale3425145
Lafayette321549
Washington3161107
Lamar289250
Oktibbeha244362
Bolivar240984
Lowndes234164
Panola219850
Neshoba2196118
Marshall213850
Leflore204790
Pontotoc199228
Monroe197377
Sunflower191655
Lincoln188765
Warren175357
Tate168051
Union166025
Copiah163040
Pike161658
Yazoo154239
Scott152129
Itawamba151534
Pearl River150867
Coahoma150143
Alcorn149628
Simpson146753
Prentiss144230
Adams141150
Grenada140645
Leake133543
Holmes129961
George124524
Tippah124530
Covington122238
Winston121624
Hancock120239
Wayne117223
Marion115846
Attala112234
Tishomingo108942
Chickasaw107132
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96827
Clay90327
Clarke89353
Jasper82022
Walthall76328
Stone76114
Calhoun73913
Montgomery73625
Carroll72115
Lawrence70814
Noxubee70617
Yalobusha70627
Smith70516
Perry66126
Tunica60619
Greene60022
Claiborne58316
Jefferson Davis56517
Amite53114
Humphreys53119
Benton49117
Quitman4897
Webster43414
Kemper42518
Wilkinson39422
Jefferson34811
Franklin3365
Choctaw3237
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1144
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 242874

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31944500
Mobile19687361
Madison13065148
Tuscaloosa12983154
Montgomery12286236
Shelby1020377
Baldwin860398
Lee773566
Morgan653850
Calhoun6240119
Marshall621355
Etowah621066
Houston523038
DeKalb481336
Cullman435442
Limestone420645
St. Clair415855
Elmore404564
Lauderdale400454
Walker3634111
Talladega349054
Jackson313423
Colbert309342
Blount288840
Autauga271642
Franklin251033
Coffee242615
Dale231854
Dallas225932
Chilton221938
Russell22143
Covington218534
Escambia197931
Chambers176550
Tallapoosa175791
Pike158314
Clarke158019
Marion137936
Winston132323
Lawrence127336
Pickens122318
Geneva12138
Marengo121024
Bibb117317
Barbour117110
Butler115341
Randolph102021
Cherokee101524
Hale96131
Clay91124
Washington90919
Fayette89816
Henry8526
Lowndes79529
Monroe78711
Cleburne77114
Macon73122
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69419
Conecuh68414
Perry6846
Lamar6718
Wilcox63218
Sumter57722
Greene42418
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
49° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
53° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 53°
Oxford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Starkville
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 50°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather