The widow of a writer who was known for presenting respectful portrayals of minorities in the comic book medium reached a settlement with parties she sued, alleging her husband’s estate was 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.
Attorneys for Charlotte McDuffie, who was the administrator of her husband’s estate, filed a notice of settlement Oct. 4 in Los Angeles Superior Court. No terms were divulged.
Dwayne 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 sued filed in August 2017 named as defendants Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle, who co-founded Milestone Media in 1992 with McDuffie and a third man, Michael Davis-Lawrence, who was 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.
In their court papers, attorneys for the defendants denied any wrongdoing on the part of their clients.
The suit alleged the defendants put their interests ahead of the McDuffie estate. Other allegations included intentional interference with prospective economic relations, fraudulent conveyance and civil conspiracy.
While at Dwayne McDuffie’s wake, Hudlin spoke with Cowan and Dingle about “restarting” Milestone Media, according to the suit, which said Hudlin had no connection to the company before McDuffie died.
Meanwhile, Charlotte McDuffie reached out to Cowan and Dingle after her husband’s death to learn more about his estate’s financial stake in Milestone Media, according to her court paper. 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 alleged. They did just that in 2013 by forming Milestone Media Co. LLC, the suit stated.
Charlotte McDuffie believed 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 court papers.
“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,” the lawsuit alleged.