‘Trouble With the Curve’ script theft lawsuit dismissed

Justin Timberlake and Clint Eastwood appear in a scene from "Trouble With the Curve." A judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a suit that contended the screenplay for the movie was stolen from another writer's work.
(Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros.)

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the makers of “Trouble With the Curve,” concluding that the script of the Clint Eastwood baseball movie was not a copy of an unproduced baseball screenplay called “Omaha,” concluding that parts of the copyright lawsuit were “frivolous” and “insulting.”

In her ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer said that producer Randy Brooks overstated the resemblance between “Omaha,” which he had developed with another screenwriter, and 2012’s “Trouble With the Curve,” written by journeyman author Randy Brown.

Fischer ruled that the lawsuit, which named Brown, Warner Bros. and Eastwood’s production company as defendants, misstated the similarities between the two scripts.

A plot description provided by an expert retained by Brooks was “not completely accurate,” the judge said in her 10-page order, and was “conveniently crafted in generalities, such that major differences in the two plots are either papered over or ignored. But even aside from these differences ... the idea of a father-daughter baseball story is not protectable as a matter of copyright law.”


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The judge also denied a request by Brooks to have more time to collect evidence in support of his case, which had sought all profits from “Trouble With the Curve” and “tens of millions” of dollars in damages.

The judge also attacked Brooks’ complaint itself, which ran a staggering 112 pages and was larded with pages of biographical material and wrath. “Plaintiffs’ argument that such details are necessary to plead their allegations of fraud with specificity is frivolous,” the judge said. She found that some of the allegations against the defendants were “insulting.”

Brooks has the option to appeal or amend his original complaint. His lawyers did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.


In a statement, Brown said: “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.”

Under federal law, Warner Bros. can seek its attorneys fees in defending the case, and said it will do so.


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