axaconfidential12-cropped.jpg‘HE’S A THIEF’ Axanar producer Alec Peters lambasts former director Robert Meyer Burnett, telling his Axanar: Confidential audience Burnett stole equipment and digital assets from the doomed project Peters used to call an “independent Star Trek feature.” Video image/Axanar YouTube channel

APRIL 16, 2019 | 8 MIN READ

Lawyer Decries Defamation as Questions Multiply in Suit

Big talk, little action: Is Alec Peters serious about doing any more than intimidating director Rob Burnett?

No Reply From Peters' Attorney

In an April 12, 2019, letter to Peters’ attorney of record in Georgia, Beverly Hills attorney Torin A. Dorros wondered why he hasn’t heard back in a month and a half about Dorros’ offer to negotiate an end to a public dispute that has aired Axanar's dirty laundry.

Apparently concerned by Peters’ lack of legal experience, and Peters’ insistence on communicating with him, Dorros pleaded for intervention by Peters’ attorney, H. Michael Dever:

I have not received any response from you to my prior correspondences. I would thus respectfully request a response as to whether I should be handling this matter through you or directly with Mr. Peters — I do believe it would be to the parties’ benefit to have experienced counsel such as yourself involved in the process.1)


“You wanna steal money, you wanna steal equipment, you wanna deny us our assets, I’m taking you to court. … Rob Burnett is a thief. It’s that simple.” — Axanar producer Alec Peters

ltr_to_m_dever_re_follow_up_re_review_of_ap_settlement_agreement_-_4-12-2019_-_with_exhibits.pdf_page_1_of_27_.jpgRead the Letter
You can download a copy of the three-page letter to Alec Peters' attorney (208 KB) from Robert Meyer Burnett’s lawyer, Torin Dorros, on April 12.

Lawyer: Stop Defaming Burnett

AxaMonitor obtained a copy of the three-page April 12 letter in which Dorros insisted again that Peters refrain from defaming Burnett after Peters’ April 8 Axanar: Confidential broadcast.

During a minute-plus rant during the YouTube livestream Peters said, “You wanna steal money, you wanna steal equipment, you wanna deny us our assets, I’m taking you to court. … Rob Burnett is a thief. It’s that simple.”

Dorros warned Dever’s client off such behavior:

I will not go into detail as to the various and multiple other instances of quite clear defamation by Mr. Peters relative to Mr. Burnett, however I must again insist that you ensure that your client immediately cease and desist from any such further conduct and remove/take down any and all similar language … from any location accessible by third parties, including without limitation, the Internet, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, the Axanar Productions website, or otherwise.2)
Alec Peters

Big Talk, Little Action

Despite Peters’ legal threats and his repeated denigration of Burnett over the past five months, the lawsuit has essentially sputtered to a halt. Again.

Delays

After filing suit in Georgia state court in Gwinnett County on February 18:

  • First delay: It took Peters 25 days to serve Burnett, a California resident with the legal summons for the Georgia lawsuit.
  • Badly served: Neither Peters nor his attorney have filed the required proof of service with the court. Without such proof filed with the court, Burnett isn’t required to reply to the suit, effectively grinding Peters’ legal action to a halt. According to Dorros:
While indeed Mr. Burnett appears to have been served with papers in the action — this should not be taken as a concession as to whether such service in fact is proper or sufficient and thus for the moment our position is that service is improper and/or insufficient.3)

Under Georgia state law, Peters was required to have proof of service filed within five days of when Burnett was ostensibly served on March 15. More than 30 days have since elapsed.

  • Peters’ lawyer MIA: According to Gwinnett County state court records, Peters attorney is listed as being on a leave of absence since March 29.
Robert Meyer Burnett

Burnett's Comment

Asked to comment on the pubic release of his attorney’s letter, Burnett said, “As you know, I’m taking all of this very, very seriously. So, on the advice of counsel, I cannot comment on any ongoing, or upcoming, legal proceedings involving these cases.”

Big Talk

More documents obtained by AxaMonitor cast doubt on Peters’ stated intentions to pursue Burnett for more than $45,000 in damages, largely stemming from $30,000 paid to Burnett that Peters now says were loans for which he wants to be repaid.

'Overwhelming Documentation'

In an email to Dorros attempting to persuade him to accept his settlement offer, Peters crowed about having “overwhelming documentation [of] all our claims,”4) though none of that was included in his February 18 legal complaint, nor in any subsequent communication with Burnett or Dorros.

Trying to Settle

Despite serious problems with Peters’ proposed settlement agreement, Dorros asked Peters’ lawyer for negotiations to create a valid settlement, writing: “I do not believe attempting to get the parties to early resolution is an unreasonable goal.”5)

Dorros observed Peters’ true goal in a March 4 email appeared to be regaining the lost Axanar digital assets: “Irrespective of [Peters’] various allegations … Mr. Peters is really only looking for the provision of certain alleged Axanar Productions digital assets.”6)

Watch

AT 15:48 in this video, Alec Peters tells his YouTube viewers that former Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett is “a thief.” Video/Axanar YouTube channel


However, Dorros argued the terms of Peters’ proposal “do not in fact read that way”:

In my opinion, [Peters’ settlement terms] do not effectively provide for the necessary typical settlement protections that I believe all parties would likely want included so as to ensure that each party can truly “move on” once the agreement is executed.7)

Peters scoffed at Dorros:

If you aren’t smart enough to take the very generous settlement offer we sent, then see you in court. I am tired of your absurd bullshit.8)

Missing Plaintiff

Dorros’ letter also observed Peters’ settlement proposal did not include the other plaintiff in the suit, Axanar Productions Inc. “It would need to be a party to the settlement agreement,” he wrote.9)

Despite being named a defendant in the suit against Burnett, Axanar Productions Inc. may not have standing to sue in Georgia courts. It remains a California corporation, and is not registered to do business in Georgia.

Digital Assets

Dorros’ devoted most of his letter to the digital assets (e.g., visual effects, footage, artwork and more) Peters said he wanted Burnett to return. Dorros identified several problems with Peters’ request:

  • Missing screenshots In his demand, Peters failed to include promised screenshots of three hard drives’ contents detailing the assets he claims he does have.
  • Already in possession? Dorros said he has evidence Burnett had discharged any obligation by having delivered all the disputed assets long ago.

Moreover, Dorros criticized the scope of Peters demand for materials Burnett is to turn over:

The definition or scope of alleged digital assets demanded in [the proposed settlement] is extraordinarily overbroad and encompasses far more material than would ever be deemed property or digital assets of Axanar Productions or Mr. Peters. That is not to say we are not willing to try to work with you and Mr. Peters on this issue, but understandably the fact that Mr. Peters wishes to claim some material is Axanar Productions material, assets, or intellectual property does not make it so.10)

Dorros asked for a detailed list of items, within seven days, to which Peters believes he’s entitled.

Attorney Torin Dorros

About Burnett's Attorney

Dorros represents clients in privacy and data breach, complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, especially focusing on healthcare, entertainment and media, social media and the Internet, software, and technology industries.11)

A Prelude Fan

Dorros admitted he was a fan of Prelude to Axanar, and that he hoped Peters would direct his attention to producing Axanar. “Hopefully in the end your client will in fact be able to move forward with things and complete the Axanar project,” he said.

“Personally I, like many, thought Prelude was excellent,” Dorros added. “Your client’s time may be better spent focusing on finishing the Axanar project itself rather than defaming and suing people. I truly do hope that the Axanar project will ultimately be completed.”12)

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1) , 3) , 5) , 6) , 7) , 9)
Letter from Torin Dorros to H. Michael Dever, Re: Alec Peters and Axanar Productions, Inc. v. Robert Meyer Burnett, p. 1, 4/12/19.
2)
Letter from Torin Dorros to H. Michael Dever, Re: Alec Peters and Axanar Productions, Inc. v. Robert Meyer Burnett, p. 3, 4/12/19.
4) , 8)
Alec Peters email to Torin Dorros, re: Final Settlement Offer, 3/3/19.
10) , 12)
Letter from Torin Dorros to H. Michael Dever, Re: Alec Peters and Axanar Productions, Inc. v. Robert Meyer Burnett, p. 2, 4/12/19.
11)
Dorros Law website, Torin Dorros, managing attorney, retrieved 4/16/19.
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