Yesterday came the news that Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, the two partners behind now-dissolved Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co, have filed a claim against Netflix in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Said claim seeks damages and aims to stop the release of Steven Soderbergh’s new film “The Laundromat” which goes global on the platform tomorrow (Friday October 18th). Said film deals with the infamous Panama Papers scandal involving the firm and actors Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas portray the two lawyers in the dark comedy feature.
Now, Netflix’s lawyers have moved swiftly to oppose the lawsuit, handing in a 44-page filing saying that the claim “should be denied for a host of reasons” and that the motion is “virtually unheard of prior restraint on speech” and “[an] affront to established First Amendment principle”.
They also say: “As the U.S. Supreme Court long ago recognized: ‘The importance of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion is not lessened by the fact that they are designed to entertain as well as to inform’.” Netflix adds that the film intends: “to bring attention to the abuse of offshore shell corporations and tax shelters, and it is an indictment of the legal system that permits them.”
The filing also claims the pair “have utterly failed to demonstrate the irreparable harm that is an essential prerequisite to the emergency relief they seek… Plaintiffs should not be allowed to benefit from a purported emergency of their own making; if anything, they should be penalized for their delay, which eviscerates their assertions of irreparable harm.”
At present, Netflix is still planning to release the film tomorrow.