As U.S. Space and Rocket Center CEO, Dr. Deborah Barnhart visited cartoon characters at the PBS annual meeting in Nashville, lawyers for the cartoon series Space Racers were busy seizing some assets of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. In legal filings in New York Supreme Court, attorneys for Space Race, LLC filed paperwork last week indicating that the $1.4 million dollar judgment against the space center had been fully satisfied. In additional filings in U.S. District Court for Northern Alabama, attorneys stated that assets had been seized by Space Race, LLC. No listing of what assets were seized were provided in either filing.
Space Race LLC (“Space Race”) has satisfied its judgment against Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission d/b/a U.S. Space & Rocket Center (“ASSEC”) because ASSEC failed to post a bond in New York and assets in ASSEC’s control were seized DEFENDANT’S MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO STRIKE (Filed June 6, 2019)
NASA Steps Up To Bat
On last Thursday, NASA announced via a one-time grant modification that an additional $834,417 had been paid to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in support of the creation of the Space Racer cartoon series. The grant had been previously terminated by NASA because the U.S. Space and Rocket Center had failed to provide required documentation to continue the funding. Space Racers producers sought to hold the space center accountable for the lost grant via arbitration proceedings. Space Race, LLC was awarded the $1.3 million by an arbitration panel and later successfully affirmed the award via a New York court that tacked on additional fees bringing the total to $1.4 million.
With the NASA grant modification, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center would have been still liable for $500,000 of the award. In past discussions of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission had been exploring their options including possible insurance claim if they were held responsible for paying the judgment. During the last financial report to ASSEC, it appeared the center had more than enough funds on hand to cover the entire judgment if needed with little impact on daily operations. (*personal observation)
Legal Issues Continue
While the New York court judgment appears to be satisfied, there is still an ongoing case in U.S. District Federal Court for Northern Alabama concerning the cartoon series and if the center has sovereign immunity as a state agency. Updates on that case along with the two other complicated court cases the USSRC is involved in will be posted as they come available.