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‘Jack Ryan’ lawsuit deadlines pushed back

Tom Clancy, 1992 (AP photo)

A legal fight has pitted Alexandra Clancy against lawyers handling the $83 million estate of her late husband, best-selling author Tom Clancy. (File photo)

The lawsuit over ownership of the Jack Ryan character following the death of author Tom Clancy is now scheduled to extend into at least 2020 after a federal magistrate judge approved an updated schedule Monday.

The discovery deadline was Oct. 2 in the case, filed by Clancy’s widow and asking for a declaration that the author’s estate is the sole owner of the character. But, under the new schedule, that deadline moves to July 2019. Dispositive pretrial motions, which were to be due in June 2019 are now due in March 2020.

The lawsuit was initially filed in August 2017 in Baltimore City Circuit Court but later removed to U.S. District Court because it concerned copyrighted material. More than a year later, the parties have had one mediation session and scheduled a second, but additional deadlines have been pushed back at their joint request.

There is no stated reason for the modifications.

The complaint alleges J.W. Thompson Webb, the personal representative of the estate, “failed repeatedly to defend the Estate’s unique interest in Tom Clancy’s characters” by signing agreements distributing profits from the new books between the estate and the companies.

Webb denied Alexandra Clancy’s allegations of improper behavior in an answer to the lawsuit and said any decisions related to Jack Ryan were made in consultation with Clancy’s longtime intellectual property counsel. Webb also filed a counterclaim at the same time, seeking a declaratory judgment that he “acted in a prudent and businesslike manner and effectively discharged his duties and powers as Personal Representative of the Estate.”

Webb is also requesting attorneys’ fees for dealing with the lawsuit.

The case is Alexandra M. Clancy v. J.W. Thompson Webb et al., 1:17-cv-03371-ELH.

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