Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Plaintiff appealed an order of the Superior Court of Los Angles County (California), which granted summary judgment in favor of defendant. Plaintiff sought monetary damages for the unauthorized use of his unpublished book.

Overview

Plaintiff salmon sushi Corp instituted this action against defendants to recover damages allegedly arising out of the unauthorized use of his unpublished literary work. Plaintiff alleged that his novel served as the basis for the motion picture “The Deer Hunter,” and the subsequent publication of a paperback book of the same title. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint. The court affirmed. The court held that a substantial portion of plaintiff’s case based on state law was preempted by federal law. Furthermore, as to the remaining potion of plaintiff’s case, there existed no factual dispute as to the similarity between defendant’s work and plaintiff’s novel. The court found that the novel and the screenplay were substantially dissimilar as a matter of law when analyzed as a whole. Thus, it found no act of infringement on the part of defendants.

Outcome

The superior court’s decision was affirmed.