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Prunty v. Vivendi

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

September 17, 2015

Robert R. Prunty, Plaintiff,
v.
Vivendi, et al., Defendants

Page 386

          ROBERT R. PRUNTY, Plaintiff, Pro se, Arcadia, FL.

         For VIVENDI, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, UMG Recordings, ATLANTIC RECORDINGS, WARNER MUSIC GROUP, JENNER & BLOCK, DEF JAM MUSIC GROUP, CRAIG KALLMAN, STEPHEN COOPER, MICHAEL DESANCTIS, ANTON R. VALUKAS, Defendants: Jessica Ring Amunson, LEAD ATTORNEY, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Washington, DC.

Page 387

         MEMORANDUM OPINION

         Amit P. Mehta, United States District Judge.

          Pro se Plaintiff Robert Prunty brought this action against Defendants Vivendi SA; UMG Recordings, Inc.; Atlantic Recording Corp.; The Island Def Jam Music Group; Warner Music Group Corp.; and the law firm of Jenner & Block, LLP.[1] Am. Compl., ECF No. 6. Plaintiff's Complaint raises two sets of claims, which are the subject of Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.[2] ECF Nos. 10, 19.

         Plaintiff's first set of claims arise from an adverse judgment entered against him in Pruntév. Universal Music Grp., 699 F.Supp.2d 15 (D.D.C. 2010), aff'd, 425 Fed.Appx. 1 (D.C. Cir. 2011). Prunté was a copyright infringement action before United States District Court Judge Paul Friedman, in which Plaintiff claimed that Universal Music Group, Inc., and a host of others infringed upon his copyrights in various songs he wrote and produced.

Page 388

Judge Friedman concluded that Plaintiff had failed to establish copyright infringement as to any of his songs. Id. at 25-30.

         In this case, Plaintiff brings four claims based on alleged acts that occurred in Prunté . In Counts Four and Five, he alleges that Judge Friedman's decision was the product of racial animus and thus deprived him of property and equal protection of the law in violation of 42 U.S.C. § § 1982 (Count Four) and 1985 (Count Five).[3] Additionally, in Counts Three and Six, he contends that Judge Friedman and Defendants in this case conspired to hide from him Judge Friedman's alleged financial interest in Defendants Vivendi SA and UMG Recordings, Inc. As to those allegations, Plaintiff advances common law " claims" of " Intentional Fraud Upon the Court" (Count Three) and " Fraudulent Concealment and Omissions" (Count Six).

         Distinct from the claims arising from Prunté , Plaintiff asserts a claim under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § § 101 et seq. (Count Two), alleging that Defendants (other than Jenner & Block) infringed his copyright in the song " Keys to the Kingdom," for which he is the " original creator and performer." Plaintiff avers that Defendants, without authorization, reproduced " Keys to the Kingdom" as the song " Kingdom," performed by the hip-hop artist Common.

         The court grants Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.

          Section 1982 and 1985 claims. Plaintiff's Section 1982 and 1985 claims are premised on the allegation that Judge Friedman called a " bogus 'status conference'" to determine Plaintiff's race, and thereafter, denied Plaintiff's copyright claims because of his race. Am. Compl. ¶ 16. Jenner & Block lawyer, Michael DeSanctis, who represented the defendants in Prunté , allegedly " pretended to be a legal combatant" for that hearing. Id.

         As a threshold matter, the court finds that the allegations underlying Plaintiff's Section 1982 and 1985 claims are not merely " unlikely," but are so " fanciful" and " fantastic" as to warrant dismissal. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992) (internal quotation marks omitted). A court may dismiss a claim as " factually frivolous" when " the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them." Id. at 33. ...


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