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Zuk v. Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute of the Medical College of Pennsylvania

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
103 F.3d 294 (1996)


Facts

Dr. Gerald Zuk (plaintiff) was formerly a psychologist at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (EPPI) (defendant). While on the faculty, Zuk conducted therapy sessions that were videotaped and maintained at EPPI and available for rental through EPPI's library. He later based a book on some of the sessions. Zuk registered the book with the United States Copyright Office in 1975. In 1980, EPPI furloughed Zuk. Zuk sought to obtain copies of the videotaped sessions from EPPI after his separation, but EPPI ignored his requests and continued to rent out the tapes. Zuk failed to pursue the issue for several years. In 1994, he resumed attempting to obtain the tapes. In 1995, he brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking return of the tapes. Benjamin Lipman represented Zuk in the proceedings. EPPI brought a motion to dismiss the case, which the court granted. The court found that EPPI owned the tapes, that Zuk's copyright of the book did not protect the tapes, and that Zuk's claims were time-barred. The court also granted EPPI’s motion for sanctions and attorney’s fees under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 11, 17 U.S.C. § 505 (the Copyright Act), and 28 U.S.C. § 1927, which prohibits vexatious conduct that multiplies litigation proceedings in federal courts. The court held both Lipman and Zuk jointly and severally liable for $15,000 in fees and sanctions. Zuk eventually settled the claim against him, leaving Lipman liable for $8,750. Lipman appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rosenn, J.)

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