Entertainment Law Reporter
September 2006 Volume 28 Number 4

Screenwriter Jeff Grosso loses implied contract case against Miramax  

Miramax has defeated an implied contract lawsuit filed against it by screenwriter Jeff Grosso – a lawsuit in which Grosso claimed that Miramax’s movie “Rounders” copied ideas in a script he had written.

The long-running case was dismissed early on, when a federal District Court ruled that Grosso’s implied contract claim was preempted by federal copyright law. But Grosso and his lawsuit caught Hollywood’s attention when a federal Court of Appeals ruled that implied contract claims are not preempted, and injected new life into the case by reversing its dismissal (ELR 26:9:7).

After the preemption ruling was reversed, further proceedings on Grosso’s breach of implied contract claim took place in the California Superior Court. That court has granted Miramax’s motion for summary judgment, on the grounds that Grosso had not in fact submitted his script to Miramax, but instead had submitted it to a separate company named Gotham Entertainment Group which had not been named as a defendant.

As a result, the Superior Court ruled that no contract at all existed between Grosso and Miramax. The court also rejected Grosso’s argument that a “First Look/Last Matching Right” deal between Gotham and Miramax was either a third party beneficiary contract or an agency agreement.

Grosso v. Miramax Film Corp., Case No. BC215947 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2006) (unpublished; available at www.EntertainmentLawReporter.com/decisions/Grosso_v_Miramax.pdf)