E. Gary Gygax Sr. May Have Had Another, More Recent Will?

A sizeable chunk of the estate is intellectual property rights. Kinda hard to light intangible objects on fire. I guess David Benioff and DB Weiss managed to do it, though.
Terry Prachett left instructions to the executor of his will that anything he was working on at the time of his death be destroyed. And they were. I don't believe it was by fire, but they certainly ceased to exist. And he earned far more than Gygax ever dreamed of.
 

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Terry Prachett left instructions to the executor of his will that anything he was working on at the time of his death be destroyed. And they were. I don't believe it was by fire, but they certainly ceased to exist. And he earned far more than Gygax ever dreamed of.

That's not what "intellectual property rights" means.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Well, she couldn't legally just burn it as it is evidence in an ongoing litigation.

I expect that's an incorrect classification. The materials of the estate would be assets, not evidence - the assets don't indicate anything, so they are not evidence of anything.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
That's not what "intellectual property rights" means.

The hard drive containing Terry Pratchett's unfinished work were run over by a steam roller at the opening of an exhibit on the man's works, at his explicit request. That IP is gone from the world.


And he earned far more than Gygax ever dreamed of.

How much he earned really doesn't enter into it.
 

It does in the USA. He exercised his control over his own IP via the executor of his will.

No, intellectual property rights refers to things like copyrights, trademarks, and ideas. For Pratchett, his IP would be his library of published works, including residual payments, adaptation rights, etc. For the current case of EGG, it most importantly refers to things like Greyhawk and movie rights that Gail had messy licensing issues with.

Also, Pratchett was not from the USA.
 

No, intellectual property rights refers to things like copyrights, trademarks, and ideas. For Pratchett, his IP would be his library of published works, including residual payments, adaptation rights, etc. For the current case of EGG, it most importantly refers to things like Greyhawk and movie rights that Gail had messy licensing issues with.

Also, Pratchett was not from the USA.
I am aware of what IP are; I hold numerous IP myself. But unfinished or unpublished work is also legally protected as intellectual property. And the key point is that at the heart of it, IP are simply property, suitable to be disposed of as the owner wishes.

Gygax was in the USA.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
And as of the status conference two days ago, things are back to square one:

8:33 AM Case called. Attorney Joseph A Kromholz appeared by phone for Lucion Gygax, Attorney Jennifer M Gorn appeared by phone for Lucion Gygax, Attorney Theodore Nathan Johnson appeared by phone for Gail Carpenter Gygax, Attorney Steven A. Koch appeared by phone as personal representative.

Court questions if Atty Kromholz is substituting or working with Atty Gorn.

Atty Kromholz states he will be working with Atty Gorn.

Court questions status of the case.

Atty Koch states the settlement has fallen apart and defers to the court as to scheduling.

Discussion on scheduling. Court trial set for September 12, 2022 @ 8:30am, 2 days in person. Pretrial set for September 8, 2022 @ 9am.

Discovery deadline is 30 days before pretrial.

Witnesses to be exchanged 14 days before pretrial.

Expert witnesses to be filed 60 days prior to pretrial.

Court orders letter briefs to be filed 14 days prior to pretrial.

Atty Gorn questions if Atty Koch can have full authority as PR.

Atty Koch and Atty Johnson state there aren't any limitations on the domiciliary letters.

Atty Johnson questions what the issues are for trial.

Court gives response.

Discussion on what intellectual property there is.

Atty Gorn to prepare order.

8:57am Case adjourned.

The big news here is that the settlement talks apparently collapsed, and so this is now going to trial, set for September 12th. That will push this past two years from when the case was originally filed.

More minor are the developments that Luke has apparently retained a second attorney, one Joseph Kromholz, and the clarification that there are no limitations on the domiciliary letters (which, if I'm reading that right, are the legal authorization for someone to act as an estate's personal representative, i.e. executor) issued to Steven Koch, who is currently handling Gary's estate (compare this to the "limited powers" that were referenced back when the court said they'd appoint a personal representative back in August).
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
A minor update: on May 5th, the docket notes that Judge Phillip A. Koss will be the judge assigned to this case as of August 1st, 2022. No reason was given for the change.

This is the second time that the judge overseeing the case has changed; prior to this, the judge was Kristine E. Drettwan, who took over the case as of January 1st, 2021, from Judge David M. Reddy.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
Interesting. My only connection to Gygax magazine, back when I ran my printing company (which closed 7 years ago), Luke Gygax emailed me asking for me to offer a bid for creating a box edition with 2 each, 48 page softcover books. I got him a price for 5,000 and 10,000 units. He never did the job he was having me bid on, but as a trade for the effort I made, Luke offered 2 full page ads in Gygax magazine at no cost to me. I was running my Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) GM's Guide Kickstarter at the time, so I put an ad for that, and one for my Gamer Printshop publishing company and services. It was in the 2nd issue of Gygax magazine. Luke hadn't sold all the ad space for it, hence why he could give me some. I appreciate Luke for that. Otherwise, I have no connection to any of the Gygax legacy as it's been playing out the last few years...

I did meet Gary at Gencon 07, quite accidentally. I was working at a vendor's booth, and snuck outside for a cigarette. Not being able to find my lighter, a zippo flared in front of me, I lit my cigarette. Then looked at the bearded fellow, dropped my eyes to his name tag, and nearly fell off the steps! We chatted for 10 minutes, then he took off on a handicap scooter to his lunch date, and that's the only time I met him.
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
as well as the appointment of Lucien as the personal representative (I think that's the executor of the will).

Either that or it’s the Lucien who leads the werewolves in their rebellion against the vampires. Which would make sense, really.
 



Alzrius

The EN World kitten
After several filings (of affidavits, motions, and other papers) made in mid-August, it's looking like the court trial might not happen (I think) as previously scheduled.

From what I can tell, having read the entries over several times now, it looks like Luke Gygax had his attorney file a motion for summary judgment (i.e. having the court make a ruling without going to trial) on August 12th, along with a motion to compel (presumably directed at Gail Gygax, though it doesn't specify what action they're asking the court to compel). Luke himself files an affidavit in support of his motion on August 15th.

Subsequently, the following takes place on September 8th:

9:08am Case not called on the record

Attorney Joseph A Kromholz appeared by phone for Lucion Gygax.
Attorney Jennifer M Gorn appeared by phone for Lucion Gygax.
Attorney Theodore Nathan Johnson appeared by phone for Gail Carpenter Gygax.
Attorney Steven A. Koch in court as personal representative.

Motions were filed as well as proposed order.
Response by the parties.
Atty Koch will be joining in the motion.

11/22 @ 9am

Atty Johnson to file response by 10/14
Replies due by 10/28

Motion to compel is pending, parties asking to follow the same briefing schedule.

Atty Koch needs extension of time to file inventory, Court will give Atty Koch until the end of the 2022 year

Atty Gorn to prepare order

Further discussion between the parties
Motion hearing scheduled for November 22, 2022 at 09:00 am.

Presuming I'm reading this right (and if any attorneys out there think I'm not, please chime in!) it sounds like the following has happened:

Rather than going to trial, the court is going to wait until mid-October for Gail's attorney to file a response to Luke's motion to compel, with subsequent responses due by October 28th. Subsequently, on November 22nd, there'll be a hearing with regard to the motion for summary judgment (and possibly other motions as well). Meanwhile, Steven Koch requested more time to file an inventory of Gary Gygax's estate, and the court granted him until the end of 2022 to do so.

With no mention made of the previously-scheduled trial, it seems unlikely that it will go forward as of September 12th.
 



Alzrius

The EN World kitten
A small but interesting update, from an "affidavit of mailing" entry on September 29th:

Paul Stormberg was provided with Notice of Intent to Obtain a Commission to Take the Deposition of Paul Stromberg by mail on 9/28/2022.

This is, to my knowledge, the first time that Paul Stormberg has been mentioned in the course of these proceedings. It's perhaps surprising that he wasn't brought in sooner, as he apparently audited the full scope of Gary's estate, posting an "ask me anything" thread regarding its contents over on reddit a few years back.
 
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Reading that old Reddit thread, man. It makes me sad to see all the plans and hopes that Stormberg and others had. And four years later, none of them have come to pass.

This is, to my knowledge, the first time that Paul Stormberg has been mentioned in the course of these proceedings. It's perhaps surprising that he wasn't brought in sooner, as he apparently audited the full scope of Gary estate, posting an "ask me anything" thread regarding its contents over on reddit a few years back.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
So the motion hearing on November 22nd happened, with the details being as follows:

9:00am Court in session

Petitioner Lucion Gygax appeared by phone.
Attorney Joseph A Kromholz in court for Lucion Gygax.
Attorney Jennifer M Gorn in court for Lucion Gygax.
Attorney Theodore Nathan Johnson in court for Gail Carpenter Gygax.
Attorney Steven A. Koch in court for Steven A. Koch.

Motion to compel discovery filed by Atty Koch.
Atty Koch believes that the Court can proceed with the Summary Judgment

Court will address summary judgment first.
Atty Johnson is opposing the motion for summary judgment but believes the Court can proceed today
Record by Atty Kromholz as to summary judgment.
Atty Kromholz responds to Court's questions
Reply argument by Atty Johnson
Record by Atty Koch
Argument by Atty Gorn

Court makes record. Court declines to grant the motion for summary judgment.
Court is open to other remedies
Response by Atty Kromholz

Regarding the motion to compel, further record by Atty Koch
Response by Atty Johnson

Court makes record as to Atty Gorn's motion to compel
Response by Atty Gorn
Reply by Atty Johnson

Court makes record. Court grants both motions to compel discovery.
Atty Koch requests the answers to his questions within 30 days, Court grants.
Atty Johnson acknowledges.

Failure to comply with discovery could result in findings of being not-credible

Parties go off the record for scheduling

Back on the record.
Atty Johnson to file order declining summary judgment for the reasons stated on the record.

Record by Atty Gorn regarding the fees for Atty Koch, asking the Court grant Atty Koch full PR rights to Atty Koch.
Argument by Atty Johnson in opposition of Atty Gorn's request.

Court agrees with Atty Johnson
Court is not making a ruling on that.

Parties have agreed on scheduling dates, Clerks to prepare scheduling order.
Petitioners to file Motion to compel order

CT 4/19-4/21 @ 8:30am
PTC 4/5 @ 11am
List of Witnesses to be filed by March 1, 2023
All other order of Judge Drettwan remain
Court orders mediation, firm of Paul Riley & Jeffrey Davis, fees to be split, accomplished by 2/17

Nothing further from the parties.

9:48am Court in recess
Pre-trial conference scheduled for April 5, 2023 at 11:00 am.
Court trial scheduled for April 19, 2023 at 08:30 am.

So from what I can parse (and if any attorneys here want to offer some insights, corrections, or clarifications, please chime in!), the following happened:
  • Luke's request for summary judgment, i.e. for the court to make a ruling in favor of one party or the other without needing to go to trial, was rejected.
  • Steven Koch makes a motion to compel, i.e. to make someone provide testimony and/or documents, with the record not saying whom he's compelling. My guess is that, since he's been assigned to act as the personal representative of Gary's estate, his motion is directed against Gail, but that's speculation on my part.
  • The court grants Koch's motion to compel, along with another motion to compel which Jennifer Gorn (one of Luke's attorneys) filed back in August. Again, no specifications as to whom she was compelling, or for what, though her working for Luke suggests that it was against Gail.
  • Koch specifies that he wants answers to questions (presumably as part of his motion) within thirty days, and the court agrees, noting that failure to comply with the motion could result in "findings of being not-credible."
  • Jennifer Gorn then brings up the issue of who's paying Steven Koch's fees, and asks that he be granted full personal representative (i.e. executor) rights to Gary's estate. Theodore Johnson, Gail's attorney, objects to that, and the court elects not to rule on the matter.
  • A new trial date is set, with the trial now being scheduled to take place from April 19th-21st.
  • A firm is appointed to conduct mediation through February 17th, with the fees for doing so being split between the two parties (i.e. Luke and Gail).
 

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