Clearing the way for comic book retailers to obtain a financial settlement from Marvel in a class action lawsuit over returns filed way back in 2002, an Appellate Court panel of five judges unanimously agreed that Judge Charles Ramos had overstepped his bounds in a ruling in the lawsuit brought by Brian Hibbs against Marvel Comics in which the Judge rejected the settlement worked out by the two sides. Judge Ramos' ruling would have changed the nature of a class action lawsuit brought by Northern California retailer Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience against Marvel from an 'opt out' to an 'opt in' basis, which would have required retailers to fill out additional paperwork (and Marvel to redo the expensive notification process -- see 'Judge Stalls Hibbs/Marvel Settlement').
Hibbs attorney Nancy Ledy-Gurren told ICv2 that the Judge now has 30 days to sign the order making the settlement of the case official. Ledy-Gurren told ICv2 that she hoped that it wouldn't take the Judge the full 30 days to do as directed and approve the original settlement. After the settlement is approved by Judge Ramos, Marvel will have 30 days to comply with the terms of the decision, meaning that retailers should finally see credits from Marvel, which in many cases should amount to the equivalent of a free week's worth of Marvel comics, by the end of the summer.
Ms. Ledy-Gurren told ICv2 that Marvel's attorneys, who joined in her appeal to the Appellate Court to overturn the Judge's surprise disapproval of the settlement, were very helpful in getting the Appellate Court to reverse the Judge's ruling: 'Once we came to an agreement with Marvel on the settlement, we were no longer adversaries and they conducted themselves that way. Once we had a settlement, they wanted to get on with it and put the whole matter behind them.'