‘America’ Judge Irked By Par Lawyer

The judge in the “Coming To America” case last week responded angrily to a Paramount lawyer’s request to relitigate portions of the already decided case.

“This case has been going on forever,” Superior Court Judge Harvey Schneider shouted at Par lawyer Charles Diamond during the Feb. 11 hearing. “You are doing what every litigant would like to do. You argue a theory and lose and come back and say, ‘I’d like to argue a new theory.'”

Diamond had sought a chance to present evidence on each of seven points enumerated by the judge when he ruled Dec. 21 that the studio’s contract with Art Buchwald regarding payment for the treatment for “Coming To America” was “unconscionable.”

“I think this is a bluff and we should call their bluff,” said Buchwald’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, who suggested that the judge order Diamond to show what evidence he wants to present on 18 contract provisions.

The judge accepted the suggestion. But he warned Diamond that if the case is reopened, he may recall an independent expert to examine Par’s books and may consider points of the contract that were not addressed in his original ruling.

He told Diamond to submit proof of why the case should be reheard by March 11 and gave Buchwald’s lawyer time to respond March 25. He said, “We will meet again April 1, probably appropriate under the circumstances.” That date is, of course, April Fool’s Day.

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