UPDATE, 3:50 PM: Well that didn’t take long. After a brief hearing on Monday in which Judge Dale Fischer said she was “inclined” to toss the multimillion-dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright infringement lawsuit, the federal judge today has pretty much done just that. “Defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment re similarity is GRANTED, Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment re similarity is DENIED, Plaintiffs’ motion for continuance is DENIED, and the motion to strike the FAC is GRANTED,” said Fischer in a 10-page memorandum (read it here) “All other outstanding motions are DENIED as MOOT,” the judge added.
Today’s order essentially frees Warner Bros and others from plaintiff Ryan Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions’ October 1 119-page complaint that claims that the idea for the Randy Brown-written 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic was stolen. Brooks had said that Curve actually came from a script he had paid another scribe to have written. “Anyone who knows me, knows my journey, how hard I’ve worked, and continue to work. And it’s incredibly disappointing that someone with money and malice can wreak such negativity,” said Brown to me after the order from Fischer came down today. Brown, along with WB, Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, talent agencies UTA and Gersh and others, was named as one of the defendants in the case – Clint himself was not.
The terse judge today had a bit more to say about the plaintiffs’ suit and methods too. While allowing Brooks and Gold Glove to file an amended complaint, with no copyright infringement claim, Fischer called parts of their First Amended Complaint “irrelevant,” “frivolous” and “insulting Defendants.” The new amended complaint must be filed by March 24. At least for now, the trouble with Trouble With The Curve is over.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: Turns out the judge has trouble with the Trouble With The Curve multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit. “I’m inclined to grant the summary judgment,” said Judge Dale Fischer today in federal court in downtown LA. “I have read the most recent scripts, I have watched the movie, I have read the expert reports” she told attorneys for both Warner Bros and other defendants and plaintiff Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions.”These are two very different stories,” she added, “the feeling the reader gets at the end is very different.” Plaintiff lawyer Gerard Fox said “we disagree your honor.” Fox may have seen it differently but she gave Fox little room to do much more than disagree, calling his experts “unpersuasive.”
In a very short and terse hearing this afternoon, Judge Fischer said she would dismiss the existing complaint, first filed on October 1, but would allow the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint in the near future without the infringement claim. Fisher also said she would issue her final ruling in the case soon. Today’s hearing comes after months of legal grenades thrown back and forth with claims of evidence manipulation, bullying lawyers and “sideshow attacks.”
On December 4 last year, Warner Bros filed a motion of summary judgment against claims by Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions that the idea for the Randy Brown-written 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic was stolen. Among the defendants named in the 119-page multi-claim suit is Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, several Warner Bros divisions and talent agencies UTA and Gersh but not Clint himself.
The plaintiffs allege that the Brown-credited Curve, which was no blockbuster at the box office, was actually written by a Don Handfield. Brooks says that he contracted Handfield 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’ lawyer Gerard Fox and his team of experts say otherwise. WB says the experts are wrong – to put it very politely.
Attorneys Fox and Jeffrey Liu represented Brooks and Gold Glove today. Matt Kline and Ashley Pearson of LA’s O’Melveny & Myers are represented Warner Bros with lawyers there for Gersh, UTA and others.
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