bundles of money
Photo via Pixabay

The widow of a “Spider-Man” writer who was known for presenting respectful portrayals of minorities in the comic book medium is suing two of his former business partners as well as a third man, alleging her husband’s estate is owed money from a revival of the minority-owned and operated comic book company he co-founded before his death.

Charlotte McDuffie was wed to Dwayne McDuffie, who died at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank of complications from emergency heart surgery a day after his 49th birthday in February 2011. She is the administrator of McDuffie’s estate.

McDuffie once worked for Marvel Comics, where he helped develop the company’s first superhero trading cards and scripted stories for “Spider-Man” and other Marvel characters. He created the WB network animated television series “Static Shock,” and wrote and produced the animated series “Justice League Unlimited” and “Ben 10.”

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Monday names as defendants Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle, who co-founded Milestone Media Inc. in 1992 with McDuffie and a third man, Michael Davis-Lawrence, who is not a defendant in the case. Also sued were Reginald Hudlin — who co-produced the 2012 film “Django Unchained” — and Hudlin Entertainment, as well as Milestone Media Co. LLC and Milestone Media Inc.

Hudlin spoke with Cowan and Dingle at McDuffie’s wake about “restarting” Milestone Media, according to the suit, which says Hudlin had no connection to the company before McDuffie died.

Representatives for the defendants could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit, which alleges that they put their interests ahead of the McDuffie estate. Other allegations include intentional interference with prospective economic relations, fraudulent conveyance and civil conspiracy. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

According to the lawsuit, Charlotte McDuffie reached out to Cowan and Dingle after her husband’s death to learn more about the estate’s interest in Milestone Media. The two pretended to cooperate, “yet engaged in stalling and stonewalling tactics designed to inhibit Charlotte’s investigation” while plotting to form a new “sham entity” that would deprive the McDuffie estate of its 50 percent interest in Milestone Media, the plaintiff alleges. They did just that in 2013 by forming Milestone Media Co. LLC, the suit states.

Charlotte McDuffie believes the three men transferred the assets of the old Milestone Media to the new entity without her consent and by providing no compensation to her spouse’s estate, according to her suit.

“Though defendants have claimed that their intent is to honor McDuffie’s legacy, they have failed and refused to honor their obligations to the family of their co-creator, business partner and mentor,” according to the lawsuit.

–City News Service

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