Michael Foundation v. Urantia Foundation Case Set for Trial in April 2001

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The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma has issued a Scheduling Order in the Michael Foundation, Inc. v. Urantia Foundation lawsuit. The Court has set the case for jury trial in April 2001. The parties are permitted until March 1, 2001, to conduct discovery, a pretrial fact-finding process that includes requests for production of documents, written interrogatories, requests for admissions of facts, and depositions of witnesses. The parties must provide one another with a final list of witnesses and exhibits by February 1, 2001. Any Motions for Summary Judgment must be filed by March 1, 2001.

Michael Foundation has already served Urantia Foundation with requests for production of documents, and Urantia Foundation is compiling its response. Likewise, Urantia Foundation has served Michael Foundation and Harry McMullan III with requests for production of documents and requests for admissions of facts.

In order to conclude discovery within the time frame allotted by the Court, Urantia Foundation has also begun scheduling depositions of some of the witnesses whom Michael Foundation indicates it may rely upon at trial according to its preliminary witness list. Each party may depose ten witnesses during the discovery period which concludes March 1, 2001.

A deposition is an out-of-court statement under oath where the attorneys for both sides are present with the witness and are permitted to ask questions. The entire process is recorded by a court reporter. Depositions are typically conducted in a conference room at a court reporter's office near the residence of the witness. A subpoena is served on the witness to advise them of the date, time and place where their deposition will be held and may specify that they bring with them documents in their possession related to the case. A deposition or document subpoena is not a lawsuit. It is simply a tool for parties to obtain discovery lawfully from non-parties during the discovery period in a case.

This case arises from the unlicensed publication by Harry McMullan III's Michael Foundation of most of Part IV of The Urantia Book under the title Jesus—A New Revelation. Michael Foundation filed suit requesting the Court to declare the copyright in The Urantia Book invalid or, alternatively, to rule that their publication does not infringe the copyright. Urantia Foundation is requesting the Court to enter judgment in favor of Urantia Foundation against Harry McMullan III and Michael Foundation for willful violations of copyright law; the anti-cybersquatting consumer protection act (for registering Internet domain names that violate Urantia Foundation's trademark rights); and the unfair and deceptive trade practices act. Urantia Foundation is requesting an injunction barring Mr. McMullan and Michael Foundation from further violation of the copyright and trademarks as well as monetary damages prescribed by law, punitive damages, and the attorneys' tees and costs incurred in connection with this case.

As the case progresses, we will issue periodic updates. In the meantime, questions may be directed to the head office in Chicago at +1 773 525 3319.

Foundation Info

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Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
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