On March 23, 1993, the third oral pleadings of the suit against Toho was held, where the plaintiffs submitted preliminary documents (2), which were prepared by myself, unusually. At an international law firm, as different from a regular civil law office, since partners do not always have more lawsuits experiences than associates, associates who are used to lawsuits normally prepare preliminary documents and partners just check the documents. In fact, most partners do not even see the documents. With respect to the Toho litigation, because I was at a position of something like a semi-party, I decided to write preliminary documents by myself. Writing in this case means recording my voice on micro cassette tape recorder, which resulted in 53-page monumental work. As for preliminary documents (2), I made quite a few pages to the facts described in the preceding chapter. I ended the documents as follows:
"Comparing the backgrounds of how we obtained the consent from the joint author and how the contract of 1990 was executed, we can realize that the defendant's acts were surprisingly alike. In 1960, without disclosing the fact that the defendant had already been executed Alciona Agreement, he had obtained the written consent as a prior approval of an agreement which might be executed in the future by deceiving the joint author who did not know the situations. This method looks extremely like another method by which the defendant obtained indemnification from the plaintiffs who had believed little possibility of risk, by hiding the situations that a lawsuit might be raised against the defendant by MGM after receiving claims repeatedly, during the negotiations of the agreement in 1990. I should admit that it is extraordinary and astonishing that these two deceiving acts made before and after three decades clearly show the dirty characters of the defendant".
According to the fax message from Lawyer Graubart date March 22, 1993, the trial date of the U.S. trial was determined on July 19 of the same year, which means severe situations for us. It takes a long time for preliminary proceedings before a U.S. lawsuit starts, but once the trial gets started, it ends quickly because of intensive hearings. Once a conclusion of the U.S. lawsuit is made (as long as we win, it is OK), it becomes meaningless to continue a Japanese suit.
In the meantime, there was a suggestion of settlement in parallel with the suit in the U.S., and at around March of 1993, a detailed settlement suggestion was made by MGM. In April 1993, Universal was added to the discussions of settlement which were going on between and among Kurosawa, MGM, and Toho (as mentioned above, Universal wished to produce a long film based on "The Seven Samurai"), and the settlement was almost materialized. In May, the essential features of the settlement were agreed between the parties, and the U.S. court deleted July 19 trial date from the schedule and the settlement became definitive.
The official settlement agreement was executed on November 18, 1993, and during the six months a draft settlement agreement was exchanged between the U.S. and Japanese law offices by facsimile and it was modified eight times. I cannot clarify the details of the settlement but with respect to Kurosawa side, I guess it was a satisfactory settlement. The lawsuit on the Japan side was terminated on November 25, 1993 by the plaintiff's waiver of rights.
On December 3, 1993, Director Kurosawa visited our offices to sign a document. The following picture was taken at that time with the attorneys who were in charge of the lawsuit.