The legal battle over who actually wrote the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve today hit fastball territory. Just a couple of days after Warner Bros threw back in a motion to have Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions’ multimillion dollar copyright infringement case against them tossed, the plaintiffs are now seeking a summary judgment of their own. “While often the issues related to these types of claims of copyright infringement raise factual issues requiring a full trial, the evidence presented herein as relates to these specific claims of intentional infringement weighs so heavily in favor of such a finding that it can fairly be said that no reasonable juror could find to the contrary,” says the motion filed today in federal court in LA (read it here). Along with the motion, the plaintiffs filed a number of declarations today asserting their case. Among other things, the declaration from Brooks (read it here) notes that it was an October 5, 2011 piece by my colleague Mike Fleming Jr on Eastwood joining a project called Trouble With The Curve that alerted him to the film and its supposed similarity to the scripts that he owned. Eastwood is not named as defendant in the the initial October 1 12-claim filing but WB, UTA, Gersh, director Robert Lorenz, screenwriter Randy Brown and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions are.
In that October filing seeking a jury trial, Brooks alleged that the pic credited to Brown was in fact written by one Don Handfield, whom the plaintiff had contracted on a work-for-hire basis to help him write copyrighted scripts to a film entitled Omaha. The unmade latter was also a baseball movie with a father-daughter story at its core. WB has called the case “wasteful” and says it has “extensive, indisputable evidence” that Brown completed a number of drafts of what became Curve. Brooks’ lawyers say otherwise. “Plaintiff hired three of the country’s leading experts, entirely independent of each other, and in each case the expert has come back and opined in detailed written opinions that not only is TWTC substantially similar to Omaha in both a qualitative and quantitative respect, but also that these works are in many respects the same story. In fact, all three experts opine that the two scripts share countless identical details and even a shocking degree of grammatical and stylistic identities and sequences,” their dense motion notes.
Of course, even if the plaintiffs received their summary judgment, this isn’t over. “TWTC is an intentional infringement of Omaha, leading to the need to resolve later in these proceedings the legal implications of the cover-up that took place, who was involved and how that will need to be redressed, all of which is beyond the scope of this motion for partial summary judgment,” asserts today’s filing. Brooks and Gold Glove are represented by attorneys Gerald Fox, Erika Morris, Jeffrey Liu and June Quan. Daniel Petrocelli, Matt Kline and Ashley Pearson of LA’s O’Melveny & Myers are representing Warner Bros.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.