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News: Twist Wins $15 Million Verdict
posted July 10, 2004

July 10 -- Former National Hockey League player Tony Twist has been awarded $15 million by a St. Louis jury in his long-running case against Spawn creator and toy business maverick Todd McFarlane over the use of his name for a mob character named Antonio 'Tony Twist' Twistelli in various serial adventures of his character in the early to mid 1990s.

Twist had previously won a $24.5 million verdict in a Circuit course victory in 2000, but a judge overruled that decision. The Missouri Court of Appeals' Eastern District found in McFarlane's favor in 2002, but a new trial was order by the state Supreme Court in July last year.

The basic item of contention in the case has been whether McFarlane's use of the name is protected by free speech, or whether it upholds one of the standards for which free speech no longer applies, such as intending to profit off of the use of another person's name. According to the Associated Press story that hit the newswires after the decision came down, the Missouri Supreme Court characterized the use of Twist's name as "predominantly a ploy to sell comic books and related products rather than an artistic or literary expression." McFarlane appealed the order for a new trial to the United States Supreme Court in 2003, but the case rejected the appeal without comment in January.

Attorney Michael Kahn has said that McFarlane and his comic book company, Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc., would appeal the verdict.