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Funimation Provides Statement on Lawsuit with A.D. Vision

posted on 2012-06-12 18:00 EDT
Company confirms case transfer to Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas

North American anime distributor Funimation provided ANN with a statement on Tuesday regarding an update ANN posted on Monday about Funimation's lawsuit against A.D. Vision:

We believe these counterclaims are frivolous and will soon be dismissed. Funimation is obviously not a monopoly, has not sought a monopoly, and has never been in violation of any antitrust laws. Rather, these claims were brought in a transparent attempt to gain leverage in the case because the defendants lack any defense to Funimation's original claims.

Funimation has also confirmed with ANN that the case was transferred to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division on June 8.

Background

In November, Funimation filed a lawsuit in the district court of Harris County, Texas against John Ledford, as well as companies A.D. Vision, AEsir Holdings, Sxion 23 (A.K.A. Section23 Films), Valkyrie Media Partners, Seraphim Studios, Sentai Filmworks, Sentai Holdings, and Unio Mystica Holdings (A.K.A. Switchblade Pictures) for breach of contract and other claims.

Funimation's lawsuit alleges that it became a creditor of A.D. Vision (ADV) in regard to a debt ADV owed ARM Corporation, which was a third party licensing entity jointly owned by Sojitz Corporation and several other companies. The lawsuit notes that ADV had purchased anime licenses from ARM after May 2006, and in January 2008 ARM "declared ADV to be in default of the parties' agreements." ADV lost the rights to more than 30 anime properties, and in July 2008, Funimation and ARM announced that they had reached a distribution agreement for those properties.

In the lawsuit, Funimation claims that ARM also gave Funimation the right to enforce ARM's agreement with ADV, specifically in regard to the debt that ADV owed ARM — making Funimation a creditor. The suit alleges that ADV never paid this debt, and instead sold its assets for below market price to several companies owned by former ADV executives and shut down.

In December, ADV and the other defendants filed the first counterclaim disputing these charges, claiming, among other things, that they do not have a contract with Funimation and are not liable to the company.

On May 8, A.D. Vision filed a counterclaim and as well as a third-party claim against Funimation, FUNimation Productions, LTD., AnimeOnline Ltd., Funimation GP LLC, Anime LP Holdings LLC, Funimation LP LLC, and Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga, asserting that the case is "the culmination of Funimation's illicit scheme designed to obliterate competition in the market for Japanese anime" and claiming that "Funimation is, or is dangerously close to becoming, a monopolist." ADV then asked the court to judge in favor of ADV in Funimation's original lawsuit, judge in favor of ADV in ADV's third-party claim, and award ADV damages, attorney's fees, interests, and costs of court.


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