Judge Turns Down New Line Request To Split Lord Of The Rings Lawsuit

Judge Turns Down New Line Request To Split Lord Of The Rings Lawsuit
Movie bosses at New Line Cinema have failed in their bid to have a judge rule on a royalty lawsuit filed against the studio by the estate of Lord Of The Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tolkien's heirs have accused film executives of failing to share the estimated $6 billion (£4 billion) profits made from the three films, which starred Elijah Wood, based on his trilogy.

They have filed suit against New Line Cinema and are seeking more than $270 million (£180 million) in compensation on the grounds of breach of contract.

The case was due to go to jury trial in October, but studio heads went to court on Tuesday in an attempt to have a judge rule on the main disputes in the lawsuit instead, with the remaining points of contention going before a jury.

However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones turned down their motion because she refused to make witnesses take the stand twice.

But Jones won't rule out the motion altogether - and New Line bosses intend to press for the lawsuit to be heard by both a judge and a jury in two separate cases, reports industry paper Daily Variety.

A statement released by the studio says, "There is little significance to the fact that the court was merely not prepared to make this ruling now...

"What is important is that the court denied the motion 'without prejudice' - meaning we can refile the motion at the appropriate time."

The Tolkien Trust filed suit in February 2008 and the October trial is still set to go ahead as planned.

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