Bleeding Cool has been covering the legal fight between Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter, his wife Laura Perlmutter, and their Palm Beach neighbour Harold Peerenboom at length including test cases regarding the acquiring of DNA.
The latest legal ploy by Harold was to force Marvel and Ike to hand over any e-mails he made with his Marvel e-mail address that might mention Harold. The allegation, refuted to me by Marvel employees, is that Perlmutter used Marvel resources to conduct a vendetta against Harold.
The effect would also be to embarrass Perlmutter, a man who famously values his privacy, and who received considerable embarrassing publicity over the Sony Wikileaks exposed e-mails that saw him, seemingly, advise against any Marvel movies starring a female lead.
And this week, a judge decided that Perlmutter waived the right to such privacy because those e-mails went through Marvel. New York Supreme Court Judge Nancy Bannon stated because Disney/Marvel had the right to monitor the use of all employees' computer usage, and Ike was aware of this, then they can't be seen as protected by privacy laws, "that Perlmutter did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in connection with electronic messages sent and received on Marvel's server, and has waived the attorney-client and work-product privileges in connection with them."
This also includes e-mails made by anyone working for him at Disney/Marvel or to his accountant.
The only concession made regards e-mails to his wife, Laura Perlmutter, who it appears would not necessarily have been aware of Disney/Marvel's policy and did not work for Ike.
This ruling hits like a thunderclap, may redefine e-mail privacy across the board and could launch a whole new wave of lawsuits regarding e-mail discover that will make Sony Wikileaks look like an accidental cc instead of a bcc.
A spokesman for the Perlmutters who talked to THR said "While it doesn't change the fact that there is no evidence to support Mr. Peerenboom's baseless lawsuit, we believe this decision sets a dangerous precedent and is contrary to law, and we intend to seek further review. The attorney-client privilege and other privileges addressed in the Court's decision are sacrosanct legal principles that should not be so significantly eroded, especially on behalf of Harold Peerenboom, a serial litigant who was recently found by a Florida court to have illegally collected and tested the Perlmutters' DNA and lied about it in his testimony."
So there's that. Further commentary received by Bleeding Cool points out that this is more about privacy, that Perlmutter having anything to hide. That this may be a tactic to encourage settlement. And Marvel Comics representatives reiterate that there are no truth in allegations that employees were used to conduct such a personal vendetta.