Rebecca Broadway LP vs. Marc Thibodeau went to the jury Tuesday afternoon after two weeks of testimony. The five women and one man had a range of information requests out of the gate in order to decide the civil suit, which was filed in 2013 after Rebecca the Musical collapsed amid a cash shortfall.
The jury was read back the legal definition of defamation, one of three causes of actions they must decide on. New York State Court Judge Jeffrey Oing needed 18 minutes to read the law as it relates to the case. “It is a very complicated charge,” Oing told the jury. “Don’t rush it.”
They asked for copies of 2012 emails that Thibodeau, a former press agent for the production, wrote under the pseudonyms Sarah Finkelstein and Bethany Walsh to a prospective investor and his lawyers, which prompted the suit. The emails warned about the production’s liabilities and Thibodeau’s suspicions that a major investor who purportedly had died wasn’t real.
They also asked for newspaper stories in the New York Times and New York Post that were included in some of the emails. The other two causes of action are wrongful interference and breach of contract, which Oing decided in Rebecca Broadway’s favor in 2015. The jury must decide on what, if any, damages.
The producing partnership, which is controlled by Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, is seeking $10.6 million, plus punitive damages. Earlier in the day, before deliberations began, two jurors were excused. One was an alternate and one had a scheduling conflict. Had they remained on the jury, one said he would’ve voted in favor of the defendant, the other would’ve awarded damages to the plaintiff. “But not $10 million,” the ex-juror said.