Stan Lee was embroiled in heaps of legal disputes in the closing months of his life and even now, nearly a year after his passing, it looks like those battles won't be stopping anytime soon. Saturday evening, TMZ reported Stan Lee Entertainment had sued JC Lee, the daughter of the late Marvel icon. According to the tabloid — which provided no sourcing on the suit — the company Stan founded in 1998 had sued JC (Joan Celia) because of her alleged inadequacy in running the Lee Family Survivor's Trust. SLE also reportedly alleged Lee was trying to "loot SLE's intellectual property."
Then, in a bizarre twist of fate, TMZ updated the initial article by suggesting SLE and JC were now working together to "remedy issues" involving the intellectual property created by Stan. "We are working together to remedy all the issues created by Stan Lee's past relationship with Pow! Entertainment," JC and SLE president Shirrel Rhoades shared with TMZ.
Just last month, JC filed suit against POW! in an attempt to gain complete control not only over her father's intellectual property, but also his name and likeness. "When Stan Lee died in November 2018, his daughter, as his only heir and Trustee of his Estate, gathered a forensic team of lawyers and accountants to investigate the facts surrounding the actions of Stan Lee's supposed partners with whom Lee had stopped communicating during the last year of his life," the original complaint reads. "In so doing, it was learned the extent to which the rights to Stan Lee's intellectual property had been looted, muddied and entangled by POW! and a range of bad actors enabled by POW!."
After news began circulating of the lawsuit between JC and POW!, the latter provided ComicBook.com a statement regarding the ongoing legal dispute. You can read the statement in its entirety below.
“It is truly unfortunate that Stan Lee’s name has to be involved in these continued frivolous actions which are truly nothing more than family drama.
J.C. Lee and others have unsuccessfully brought these very same arguments to court in multiple cases over the past 20 years, unfortunately, even leveling these arguments against her father when he was still alive. In those prior cases, the court system ruled in POWs favor, confirming without question POW! is the legal and proper owner of these rights. We are more than confident that this case will be promptly disposed of by the courts.
What is truly saddening for those at POW!, many of whom have been Stan’s Closest confidants, friends, and business associates for so many years, is to see his estranged daughter using Stan’s name in such a brazen and transparent effort to gain media attention and extract some financial settlement. The reality is that Stan Lee himself left specific instructions, including legal declarations, specifying that JC Lee is not to have any control, say, claim, right, or interest in or to the intellectual property that Stan left behind. Stan’s own instructions dictate that JC Lee is not to have any involvement whatsoever in the commercial development of Stan’s intellectual property. POW! is now, and always has been, Stan Lee’s company and his legacy and will be forever, the way he wanted it to be.
All of the past legal actions are a matter of public record and plainly show that the present legal action is nothing more than a perverse publicity stunt.”