Lawsuit against Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg and ‘Ballers’ team seeks $200 million
“Ballers” executive producers Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg’s copyright lawsuit just got a damages amount: $200 million to be exact, according to the amended complaint submitted on Tuesday.
Baller status, indeed.
The actors; creator Stephen Levinson; HBO; and production companies 7 Bucks Entertainment and Leverage Management have been accused of poaching the idea for the summertime football series in a federal suit brought by Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton in December.
Screenwriters Silas and Littleton say the premium cable channel’s NFL-centric show “borrows heavily” from a show they made in 2007 called “Off Season” — a show they actually pitched to Wahlberg and Co. in 2009, according to the complaint obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Their idea never came to fruition and fell through over the “created by” credits.
“The stories, character traits, scenes, and incidents portrayed in the two works, ‘Ballers’ and ‘Off Season,’ are, in many respects, virtually identical and strikingly similar. These substantially similar elements, coupled with the Defendants’ direct access to the Materials, leaves little doubt that numerous elements of ‘Ballers’ were copied from ‘Off Season,’” the complaint said.
The duo also delineated the similarities between the two works and presented a list of 27 of the specific plot, scene, dialogue, and/or character similarities.
Silas and Littleton claim that the “Ballers” theme, plot, setting, characters, mood and other characteristics are similar to those of “Off Season”: They both center on the off-season lives of professional football players, follow an African American businessman “trying to monetize his friendships” with other players and athletes to grow his business in Miami. Additionally, they assert that the characters are “strikingly similar,” and their main character has “traits that can be seen in several characters in ‘Ballers.’”
When the case was first brought in December, an HBO spokesperson told Deadline that it “has no merit.”
The second season of “Ballers” premieres on HBO this summer.
Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.
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