McMullan Appeal

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On December 21, 2001, Urantia Foundation's initial brief and request for oral argument was filed with the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver in the case of Michael Foundation, Inc. v. Urantia Foundation. This case arises out of the publication by Harry McMullan III of a work that copied all but one of the Papers from Part IV of The Urantia Book. Copies of the brief are available by contacting Urantia Foundation.

McMullan's brief was due to be filed on January 23, but Urantia Foundation agreed to his request for an extension through February 12. Urantia Foundation is permitted fourteen days from the date of service of McMullan's brief within which to file a final reply brief. No other briefs are permitted.

McMullan had filed a notice of appeal of two of the trial judge's rulings: (1) that Urantia Foundation is the proprietor of copyright in The Urantia Book that was entitled to file the initial copyright registration; and (2) the denial of McMullan's Motion for Attorney's Fees. However, McMullan has now indicated he will dismiss his appeal of these points. This will permit him to focus his entire brief on attempting to rebut the copyright validity issues raised in Urantia Foundation's brief.

After all of the briefs have been filed, assuming Urantia Foundation's request for oral argument is granted (highly probable), a date will be set for oral argument. We expect oral argument to occur in September or November of 2002.

There will be a panel of three judges assigned to hear the case. Briefs are made available to the judges soon after the cases are assigned to hearing panels, usually several weeks before scheduled argument. The panel judges read the briefs before oral argument. The hearing is limited to thirty minutes during which the parties present their arguments and respond to questions from the panel.

Following the oral argument, one of the judges will write the majority opinion. Depending upon when oral argument occurs, we hope to have a decision from the 10th Circuit before the end of 2002 or, if oral argument is not heard until November, in early 2003.

The party who loses the appeal can request a rehearing en bane by all of the judges of the 10th Circuit. This is up to the discretion of the court. The party who loses may then request the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but that too is discretionary and only a small percentage of such requests are granted by the Supreme Court.

If Urantia Foundation prevails on appeal, there is a good chance the appellate court will enter judgment in favor of Urantia Foundation as to copyright validity and infringement and order a limited trial to assess the amount of damages to be awarded. It is also within the appellate court's power to order a complete retrial.

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