Judge Gonzalez Grants Two Consipio Motions, Then Seals One

LAS VEGAS—Activity in the Las Vegas version of Consipio v. Private is heating up once again. At stake in the case, as readers of AVN may be aware, is the future composition of the management and Board of Directors of Private Media Group, one of adult entertainment’s iconic brands and one of only a handful of publicly traded adult companies.

Currently, the Las Vegas court is still awaiting information regarding a vote taken at the annual Private shareholder meeting in November that was intended to decide the makeup of the company’s Board of Directors, which was expanded from six to seven members in February in order to comply with NASDAQ requirements regarding the requisite number of independent members.

On April 1, plaintiffs’ counsel filed two motions with the court, both of which were granted Thursday by Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. At the request of defendants’ counsel, however, one of the motions was ordered sealed by the court.

Despite the fact that the sealed motion was posted to the Clark County Court’s website, where it was purchased for download by AVN, we have been advised that disseminating its contents, directly or indirectly, would constitute a violation of the order verbally issued by Judge Gonzalez. The courthouse confirmed this morning that the motion had in fact been sealed. Respectful of the court’s directive, AVN will therefore not disseminate the contents of the motion.

The other motion, however, was not sealed. It is titled “Plaintiff’s Motion on Shortened Time for Permission to Serve Defendant Berth H. Milton Jr. by Publication; and Plaintiff’s Motion on Shortened Time for Extension of Time to Serve Defendant Berth H. Milton Jr.” The service referred to is the notice to Milton regarding the First Amended Verified Complaint filed by Consipio and the other plaintiffs on Aug, 25, 2010; in other words, the ongoing lawsuit.

In that motion, the plaintiff’s allege that they “have exercised due diligence in their continuing efforts to serve Defendant Berth H. Milton Jr. (‘Milton’) in Spain, although they have been hampered by the Hague Convention’s bureaucratic red tape, the Spanish Central Authority’s ineffective methods of attempting to serve defendants, and Milton’s fraudulent attempts to evade service by claiming he resides in Nevada.”  (Original emphasis)

Specifically, according to the motion, “The process servers for the Spanish Central Authority went to [Private’s] headquarters in Barcelona, Spain and attempted to serve process on Milton on several occasions. However, the [Private] employees at the front desk told the process servers that Milton was not there. The [Private] employees told the process servers that Milton’s office was in Nevada, and not Spain.” (Original emphasis)

 The process servers finally reported back to plaintiff’s counsel that process could not be served because the person to be served does not reside in Spain, but information was provided in the motion that contradicted that claim. Because of the alleged problems serving Milton, the plaintiffs asked the court for permission to serve him by publishing the notice of service in a newspaper, and also for an extension of time in which to do so.

Private replied to the motion to serve by publication with a motion of its own, filed April 6, even though Private’s counsel in the case does not represent Berth Milton, and does not anticipate doing so in the future. The motion in opposition argued that “good cause does not exist for Plaintiffs to seek an enlargement of time after the 120-day period has already run, given that nothing prevented them from seeking such an extension in a timely fashion.” The motion also argued that plaintiffs should not be allowed to serve by publication because they failed to attach an Affidavit of Due Diligence [with their motion], and also because “it does not appear that a cause of action will be able to be maintained against Milton.”

Despite the motion to oppose, Judge Gonzalez granted both of the plaintiffs’ motions, and then sealed the one while allowing the other to remain public. Despite that prohibition, however, AVN will continue to report on the ongoing activity in this case, which, as was stated at the beginning of this article, is once again coming to a full boil.

The plaintiffs' motion can be read here.

The defendants' opposition motion can be read here.