Well, looks like someone’s 4th of July celebrations are starting a bit early. A federal judge today tossed a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Tom Cruise, JJ Abrams , Paramount Pictures, CEO Brad Grey, Skydance Productions and David Ellison, JJ Abrams and others. “IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the above-entitled case is dismissed, without prejudice, for lack of prosecution and for failure to comply with the orders of the Court,” said a 1-page order from Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell today (read it here).
The ending of the case in U.S. District Court comes nearly six months after Timothy Patrick McLanahan formally sued the notables and the studio claiming that 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was lifted off of his script. In an error-filled January 13 complaint demanding a jury trial, the plaintiff alleged that the fourth flick in the MI franchise was really derived from a script he wrote more than 15 years ago titled Head On. Cruise’s longtime lawyer Bert Fields called the wide-ranging legal action in early February “bizarre.” While O’Connell never went that far, the fact that the self-representing McLanahan never submitted required or demanded paperwork after making such a big claim and seeking such a big payout was a little extraordinary.
On June 4, the judge gave McLanahan one last chance to “show cause why this case should not be dismissed.” As evident from today’s order, the plaintiff never did and this case, as I predicted, went nowhere. Happy Holidays guys!
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.