Judge May Rules Emergency Rescheduling Requires an Actual Emergency to Justify Extraordinary Relief

Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. v. Sunset Pictures, LLC et al, Civil Action No. 1:23-cv-00546-LMM (N.D. Ga., Feb. 9, 2023)

Judge Leigh Martin May denied the Harlem Globetrotters their emergency request for expediated discovery for a film depicting the team scheduled for limited screening this week.

The Plaintiff had requested a hearing on their Motion for Hearing and Revised Briefing Schedule Concerning Emergency Motion. The Plaintiff sought to push the Defendants to retain counsel and file a response quickly in order to seek a preliminary injunction enjoining the upcoming screening of the film by February 17, 2023, the date of the showing.

“Such a schedule is extremely aggressive, especially since the Court is currently in the middle of a criminal trial,” said Judge May in the Order. Order Denying Motion for Hearing and Revised Briefing Schedule Concerning Emergency Motion, Civil Action No. 1:23-cv-00546-LMM, Dkt. 16 at 2 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 9, 2023).

In particular, the Court noted the Plaintiff failed to demonstrate the necessity of the extraordinary relief sought given the “very limited nature of this initial film showing.” Id.

Judge May reasoned “[t]he schedule the Court has already entered provides sufficient time for these issues to be handled before a greater release of the subject film,” scheduled for nationwide release in April 2023. As such, the motion was denied.

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