Disney/Pixar sued by screenwriter claiming CARS concept was stolen
Disney/Pixar sued by a UK screenwriter claiming that the Cars concept was stolen. Jake Mandeville-Anthony hopes to stop release of the film and claims that they are based in part on work he submitted in the early 1990s.
According to THR, the claim was filed in U.S. District Court and states that "he created a three-part screenplay titled "Cookie & Co.," about the true-life adventure race-car driver Michael Owen Perkins, who won a 1988 race, and a second work titled "Cars," which included a treatment, sample screenplay, 46 animated car character descriptions, 10 cars character sketches, and a marketing and merchandising plan." Mandeville claims that he sent out copies to various production companies, including Disney. The claim also states that in 1993, he hand-delivered copies of his work to Jim Morris, a Lucasfilm executive. Pixar and Lucasfilm have worked together since the 80s, when Pixar acquired certain divisions of the George Lucas company. The complaint goes on to state that Morris joined Pixar and is currently general manager at the company.
Mandeville-Anthony and Disney/Pixar have been sparring back in forth in UK courts. There was a recent judgment in the case that's currently under seal. In this new complaint, he claims "a long list of similarities among the characters in each of the works. Both have characters named "Stanley" modeled after a Model T Ford. Both have lead characters modeled after a "James Aston-Martin" sports car. Both feature broken down truck characters, doctors as authority figures, glitzy showgirl movie star females, Italians, rich business cars past their prime, and so on."
The plaintiff alleges copyright infringement and breach of implied contract. He also has requested actual or statutory damages.
What are your thoughts on this news? Do the claims sound legitimate?