Judge denies request to delay 38 Studios civil trial

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The state’s lawsuit against architects of the 38 Studios deal is moving forward.

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein denied a motion by the defendants to put the trial on pause while a civil fraud case by the Securities and Exchange Commission is worked out in federal court.

In his order issued Wednesday, Silverstein said it would be an “abuse” of the court to delay the trial any further “pending a final determination of the federal litigation which might not and likely would not impact the claims remaining in the case at bar.”

The civil case has been grinding on in state court since the R.I. Commerce Corporation filed suit in November 2012.

The SEC complaint – which also names Commerce Corporation as a defendant – was filed earlier this year and alleges the former R.I. Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Wells Fargo defrauded investors when they sold $75 million in bonds in November 2010 to fund 38 Studios, the game company founded by former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling.

The state’s case is set to go to trial on Sept. 15.

Attorney Max Wistow, who filed the lawsuit on the state’s behalf, applauded the judge’s ruling.

“We’re eager to get this case moving,” Wistow said. “We’re delighted the court denied the defendant’s request to stay.”

Six of the 14 defendants have agreed to settlements, while the other eight continue to defend themselves in court. Retired R.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Williams was appointed to mediate the case last May.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Ted Nesi contributed to this report

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