MARCH 3, 2019| UPDATED MARCH 9, 2019 | 4 MIN READ

Tardigrades, CBS Attorneys Work Out Discovery Dispute

CBS lawyers’ delays are making it tough to find connections between Discovery creators and videogame

Lawyers in the Tardigrades lawsuit appeared to have resolved their disagreements by the March 8 deadline set by U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield.

Discovery Dispute

Attorneys for game developer Anas Abdin had complained to Schofield that CBS lawyers were not complying with her order to allow Abdin’s lawyers to gather evidence.

Abdin seeks a connection between Star Trek: Discovery and his videogame on the Steam platform. He alleges Discovery‘s creators must have stolen ideas from Tardigrades in 2015.

Meanwhile the lawyers on both sides asked the judge to cancel the March 12 status report she wanted.

Looming Deadline

Faced with a looming March 19 deadline for game developer Anas Abdin to show a connection between Star Trek: Discovery‘s creators and the videogame from which he says they stole his ideas, his lawyer asked the judge to intervene.

In that February 27, 2019, letter to Schofield, attorney John Johnson accused defendant CBS’ lawyers of stalling in turning over evidence to meet that deadline.

Judge Admonishes Lawyers

Schofield admonished all the lawyers to follow her court’s rules: You better confer in good faith over discovery disputes.

In a March 4 statement, Schofield ordered them to talk it out by March 6. If that didn’t work then CBS was to give her a written explanation by March 8.

READ THE LETTER from Tardigrades attorney John Johnson to the judge asking her to intervene in CBS stalling tactics.
Email exchange between the two lawyers.
• What the plaintiffs are looking for.

The bottom line

CBS believes Abdin’s lawyers are going on a fishing expedition in a desperate attempt to show Discovery‘s creators stole from the game developer. Abdin’s attorney says the judge allowed them to investigate and has told CBS it had better cough up the goods.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield

Judge Orders Meeting

Either way, Schofield orderd the attorneys to appear before her on March 12 to report on the case status.

Discovery Dispute

Abdin’s lawyers were trying to find CBS employees who were also members of the Steam platform who also developed Discovery, and who also voted in Steam's Greenlight program for his Tardigrades game.

  • CBS objections: In a March 1 letter, Abdin lawyer John Johnson complains CBS’ attorneys have objected to the subpoena he wants to serve on Steam's owner, Valve Corp. CBS says many employees about whom Johnson inquires are no longer employed by CBS.
  • CBS had agreed to provide evidence but hadn’t by the agreed-upon date, according to emails Johnson filed in court.

Motion to Compel Discovery

Johnson hoped the judge would force CBS to provide the evidence he wanted:

  • IP addresses: Johnson wanted Information about IP addresses of various CBS-owned domains.
  • Connections to Steam: He wanted Steam user account information about anyone involved in developing or producing Discovery, as well as accounts registered by anyone from CBS Broadcasting, All Access, Netflix, Living Dead Guy Productions, Secret Hideout, Roddenberry Entertainment or Pinewood Toronto Studios.
  • Steam subpoena: From Steam, Johnson hoped to obtain the voting record, and user information about anyone involved in developing or producing Discovery who voted on the Tardigrades game.
  • Discovery creators and staff Johnson was interested in included Bryan Fuller, Alex Kurtzman, Nicholas Meyer, Aaron Harberts, Akiva Goldsman, Erika Lippoldt, Gretchen J. Berg, John Eaves, Jonathan Frakes, Kirsten Beyer, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth. More are listed in court documents.

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