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Goldman is Gone- Official Court Minutes | Substantial Similarity | Complaint


Goldman is Gone- Official Court Minutes

Uploaded by Anonymous TpffosXHH The official Court Minutes of Judge Fitzgerald's decision to grant Disney's motion to Dismiss the lawsuit brought against them by Gary Goldman and Esplanade ProductionsFull description Copyright: © All Rights Reserved Download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd Flag for inappropriate content save
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  UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL MINUTES—GENERAL Case No. CV 17-02185-MWF (JCx) Date: November 8, 2017 Title: Esplanade Productions, Inc. -v.-  The Walt Disney Company, et al. ______________________________________________________________________________ CIVIL MINUTES—GENERAL 1 Present: The Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. District Judge Deputy Clerk: Court Reporter: Rita Sanchez Not Reported Attorneys Present for Plaintiff: Attorneys Present for Defendant:  None Present None Present Proceedings (In Chambers): ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF’S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT [31]   In this action, Esplanade, the solely-owned corporation of well-known Hollywood writer, director, and producer Gary L. Goldman, seeks to prove that Disney stole the idea for its hit animated film  Zootopia  from Goldman. In support of its claims, Esplanade alleges that Goldman twice shared a synopsis and treatment for the movie  Looney , along with his ideas and artwork for a larger franchise called “Zootopia,” with Disney agents and executives. The parties presently dispute only whether Goldman’s materials are sufficiently similar to the Disney film to support an action for copyright infringement. In other words, the Court assumes that Disney had the opportunity to copy Goldman’s work. The question is whether Disney copied original, protectable elements of Goldman’s work. The Court has now had the opportunity to review Goldman’s work and compare it to  Zootopia . Applying the “extrinsic” portion of the Ninth Circuit’s “substantial similarity” test, the Court concludes that the plots, themes, dialogue, moods, settings,  pace, characters, and sequence of events in  Zootopia  and Goldman’s work are not sufficiently similar for Esplanade to proceed beyond the “extrinsic” portion of the test. Esplanade is thus not entitled to have a jury determine whether the works are intrinsically similar. JS-6 Case 2:17-cv-02185-MWF-JC Document 39-1 Filed 11/08/17 Page 1 of 40 Page ID #:637   UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL MINUTES—GENERAL Case No. CV 17-02185-MWF (JCx) Date: November 8, 2017 Title: Esplanade Productions, Inc. -v.-  The Walt Disney Company, et al. ______________________________________________________________________________ CIVIL MINUTES—GENERAL 2 Before the Court is Defendants The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., Walt Disney Pictures, ABC, Inc., Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., Disney Consumer Products, Inc., Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, Inc., Disney Book Group, LLC, Buena Vista Books, Inc., Disney Interactive Studios, Inc., Disney Store USA, LLC, and Disney Shopping, Inc.’s (collectively, “Disney”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Firs Amended Complaint, filed August 28, 2017. (Docket No. 31). On September 11, 2017, Plaintiff Esplanade Productions, Inc. (“Esplanade”) filed an Opposition. (Docket No. 32). On September 18, 2017, Disney filed a Reply. (Docket No.33). The Court held a hearing on October 2, 2017. Disney’s Motion is GRANTED without leave to amend  . As a matter of law, the Court can now determine that the extrinsic portion of the substantial similarity test is not met. Of course Plaintiff relies on  Metcalf  , but there is nothing particularly striking in the alleged similarity between  Looney  and the Disney  Zootopia . Esplanade’s copyright infringement claim is therefore DISMISSED . The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Esplanade’s state law claims, which are DISMISSED without prejudice to Esplanade’s pursuing those claims against Disney in state court. The analysis necessary to determine the California claims is not necessarily precisely the same as that necessary for substantial similarity under copyright. The California courts are the appropriate forum to make that determination. Disney can afford it. I. BACKGROUND   A. Procedural History and Judicial Notice On March 21, 2017, Esplanade filed its original 36-page Complaint, alleging that, through its creation and distribution of  Zootopia , Disney had expropriated original, protectable elements of  Looney , the creation of Gary Goldman, Esplanade’s founder, CEO, and sole shareholder. Esplanade asserted claims of copyright infringement, breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 et Case 2:17-cv-02185-MWF-JC Document 39-1 Filed 11/08/17 Page 2 of 40 Page ID #:638   UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL MINUTES—GENERAL Case No. CV 17-02185-MWF (JCx) Date: November 8, 2017 Title: Esplanade Productions, Inc. -v.-  The Walt Disney Company, et al. ______________________________________________________________________________ CIVIL MINUTES—GENERAL 3 seq.  On July 11, 2017, the Court granted Disney’s motion to dismiss the Complaint, dismissing Esplanade’s copyright infringement claim with leave to amend and deferring consideration of its state law claims until Esplanade filed an amended complaint. (Docket No. 24). The Court dismissed the Complaint, in large part,  because Esplanade had “fail[ed] to include, at the least, any clear summary of the  Looney  plot, dialogue, themes, and so on…,” which rendered a meaningful comparison of  Zootopia  and  Looney  impossible. (  Id.  at 19). The Court instructed Esplanade to cure these deficiencies “either by providing a clear and detailed description of the allegedly infringed works, or by attaching them to the Complaint – at which point the Court will again consider whether the works are substantially similar to  Zootopia .” (  Id. ). On August 3, 2017, Esplanade filed a 67-page FAC, annexed to which are ten exhibits, including the  Looney  “Character Descriptions, Character Illustrations, Synopsis, and Treatment” that Goldman authored. (FAC (Docket No. 27), Ex. 1). On August 28, 2017, Disney filed its present Motion to Dismiss the FAC; on September 11, 2017, Esplanade filed its Opposition; and on September 18, 2017, Disney filed its Reply. (Docket Nos. 31-33). For the same reasons noted in its previous Order (at 2-3), the Court takes judicial notice of the animated motion picture  Zootopia , a DVD copy of which has been  provided to the Court and which the Court has viewed. B. Factual Background 1. Goldman’s Contemplated “Zootopia” Franchise  Esplanade and Goldman :  Esplanade is a California corporation formed by Goldman in 1984 to produce motion pictures and as a vehicle for his various projects as a writer, director, and producer. (FAC ¶ 23). Goldman has since been Esplanade’s CEO, director, employee, and sole shareholder. (  Id. ). Goldman has had a long and successful career in film, and has worked in one capacity or another on a number of well-known motion pictures, including Total Recall ,  Basic Instinct  , and  Minority Case 2:17-cv-02185-MWF-JC Document 39-1 Filed 11/08/17 Page 3 of 40 Page ID #:639