United States District Court, D. Columbia.
Robert R. Prunty, Plaintiff,
Vivendi, et al., Defendants
R. PRUNTY, Plaintiff, Pro se, Arcadia, FL.
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.
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. Am. Compl., ECF No. 6. Plaintiff's
Complaint raises two sets of claims, which are the subject of
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. ECF Nos. 10, 19.
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.
Judge Friedman concluded that Plaintiff had failed to
establish copyright infringement as to any of his songs.
Id. at 25-30.
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). 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
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.
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.
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.