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December 22, 2004

TMP Bankruptcy Update—Official Statement From the McFarlane Camp

Here, as printed a billion other places, is the Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc. press release regarding the recent news the company filed chapter Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc. to Operate under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection; No Impact on Any Other McFarlane Company

Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc., producer of comic books, filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to continue regular operations, because of various situations including the aftermath of a $15 million verdict handed down last July by a St. Louis jury in a lawsuit by retired hockey player Tony Twist over the use of the name of a fictional mobster character.

The filing does not involve and will have no impact on McFarlane Toys, one of the nation's largest toy action figure manufacturers, or any of the other companies in which Todd McFarlane is an officer.

TMP International Inc. (doing business as McFarlane Toys); Todd McFarlane Entertainment, which helps create animated programming, feature films and other products; and Image Comics, publisher of various comic books, were also defendants in the St. Louis case, but the jury found all three innocent of the charges. All companies will continue business as usual.

"Only one company is involved in this action, and it will continue to operate and create comics," said McFarlane, chief executive officer of Todd McFarlane Productions. Filing for protection under Chapter 11 will enable Todd McFarlane Productions to propose a plan of reorganization while its appeal of the judgment to the Missouri Court of Appeals proceeds. The company will continue to produce comic books, without impact on any customers, partners or fans.

Todd McFarlane Productions has defended its use of the name Tony Twist on First Amendment grounds and intends to press that claim on appeal. Todd McFarlane Productions has received extraordinary support for that position from many of the nation's leading authors and entertainment figures, including Harry Shearer from The Simpsons, Michael Crichton, creator of the television series ER, and Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, all of whom filed a "friend of the court" brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the free speech defense in an earlier proceeding in the case.

Other than various hilarious scenarios involving Larry David trying to impress a judge only to accidentally poison his law clerk as Michael Crichton looks on in horror and disgust, what pops out here is that it seems they claim that the judgment is solely against TMP, which as I pointed out yesterday, would pretty much have to be the case. Also, the umbrella name for the McFarlane empire seems to be TMP International, Inc. -- or at least it is now.
posted 6:39 am PST | Permalink

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