Earlier today, Ryan Brooks and Gold Glove Productions filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming that the concept for Warner Bros.’ 2012 film Trouble With the Curve was stolen from three of the production company’s copyrighted scripts as well as a concept reel.
The lawsuit alleges that the script for Trouble With the Curve, which was credited to Randy Brown, was originally for a film titled Omaha, written by Don Handfield. Both scripts focus on a father-daughter relationship in the middle of a baseball story, and now, it’s being alleged that he was involved in changing the script into what would become Trouble With the Curve, before Brown’s name was stamped on the work.
The lawsuit claims, “Don Handfield’s writing style, tics, and persona are like fingerprints and DNA all over Trouble With the Curve, which steals the very story noted above from Omaha, including aspects from notes by Handfield and Brooks when they worked together on Omaha and earlier treatments of Omaha (when entitled Run Down).” It continues: “In short, Don Handfield helped write the original, copyrighted work Omaha for Plaintiff Gold Glove Productions as a requested work-for-hire but had a falling out with its founder and creator of that project, college baseball standout, Plaintiff Brooks. Thus, Don Handfield switched the setting, adjusted the trimmings, and gave birth to an infringing counterfeit version of the same story.”
Gerard P. Fox, the representative for Gold Glove, spoke about the lawsuit in a press release, claiming, “The copyrighted scripts and concept reel bear more than a striking resemblance to Trouble With the Curve. Together with contracts signed by Handfield and testimony from top industry experts, writing analysis specialists and investigators, we have the evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the perpetrators camouflaged Gold Glove’s script, used Ryan’s personal experiences, found a stand-in to pose as the writer, and concocted stories to tell the press about the authenticity and origins of the screenplay.”
The suit targets a number of defendants, including Handfield, Brown, Warner Bros., UTA, Gersh Agency, Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, and more. Among the charges are breach of contract and contract infringement. The prosecutors are asking for a jury trial and seeking “tens of millions of dollars” on each individual claim in addition to profits received from the defendants.
UPDATE: Warner Bros. responded with a statement saying, “The lawsuit is reckless and the allegations false.”