If you thought the already invective-heavy multimillion-dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright lawsuit against Warner Bros and others couldn’t turn into more of a dugout brawl, think again. In a flurry of filings today in federal court before a February 24 hearing on Warners’ motion to dismiss the suit from Ryan A Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions, plaintiffs lawyer Gerard Fox stepped it up a notch — or took it down, depending on your perspective. “This shading of facts, this bullying, this name calling, and these highly unprofessional acts all indicate desperation and nothing more,” he said in response (read it here) to Warners’ scathing reply brief of last week and the actions of its lawyers Daniel Petrocelli, Matt Kline and Ashley Pearson of LA firm O’Melveny & Myers. Brooks first filed his lawsuit October 1 over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic.
Specifically, in the filings today, Fox is crying foul on the lawyers for the way they characterized and treated the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses — many of whom Warners pummeled in its reply brief. “The fact that some of these experts have had their testimony rejected by some courts, while being accepted by others, is of no more significance to the facts of this case than the number of times a sitting judge is reversed,” says the lawyer. Noting a professor who the defense have used in past cases for other studios, Fox takes aim at the O’Melveny & Myers trio. “In this case they have called him, on the record, without any cause but their own taunting behavior, a sexist,” he writes in the 10-page filing today. “Moreover, during the deposition of Columbia Professor David Yerkes, defense counsel made a statement that one could opine was meant to suggest he was racist. Such unprofessional comments are beyond the pale.”
With defendants ranging from Warner Bros and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions to talent agencies UTA and Gersh in his multi-claim filing (though not Eastwood himself, oddly), Brooks alleges in the “tens of millions of dollars” suit that the baseball movie was ripped off an unmade movie of his. He claims that the pic credited to screenwriter Randy Brown comes from a script he commissioned a Don Handfield to write for him based on his knowledge of the world of college baseball and scouting. In January, Brooks’ attorney responded to Warners’ summary judgment motion with claims that his experts had shown that the studio “manipulated” computer disks and submitted “fraudulent documents.”
Besides slamming the tactics of Warners’ defense team in his filing today, the plaintiff’s lawyer reiterates their side’s contention, that the evidence submitted by the other side has been tampered with. “The scripts themselves are undated, unregistered, include scenes in them that could not have been written at the time alleged and look to anyone who understands script progression, faked, forged or whatever word one would assign to fabricated evidence,” says Fox. “The floppy discs from which the scripts have been printed have a long list of indicia of fraud.”
While Warner Bros might want to get in a further response, this likely will be the last filings by Brooks and Gold Glove until the hearing in a week-plus. And that matchup is likely to see real bare-knuckles lawyering.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.