The case of “To Kill A Mockingbird” will officially be adjudicated in New York.
A U.S. District Judge in Alabama ruled Monday that while his court had jurisdiction over a lawsuit between the estate of Harper Lee and production company Rudinplay, it would transfer the suit to the Southern District Court of New York, where a trial has already been scheduled. The suit was transferred out of convenience for the witnesses and the possibility of having to stage the play.
As discussed in a New York court last week, the witness list includes producer Scott Rudin, playwright Aaron Sorkin, one or two artistic experts and possibly general manager Joey Parnes.
At the heart of the suit is whether the upcoming Broadway play, written by Aaron Sorkin, strays from the spirit of the novel, particularly with characters such as Atticus Finch. The original suit was filed by Tonja B. Carter, who represents the estate of Harper Lee.
In the original complaint, Rudin had discussed staging the play in court, and last week there was further discussion of filming a performance to play for the jury before a live performance, to show whether it strayed from the novel. The Alabama court took this into consideration in deciding to transfer the case.
“The trial court may deem it beneficial, or even necessary, for the finder of fact to observe a live performance of the Play,” wrote U.S. District Judge William H. Steele.
A trial date has been set for June 4 in New York.