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Loeb & Loeb Secures Appellate Victory for Showtime in Defense of ‘Big C’ Idea Theft Suit

LOS ANGELES – Loeb & Loeb LLP achieved a significant appellate victory on behalf of clients Showtime Networks Inc. and Darlene Hunt, creator and head writer of the Showtime original television series The Big C, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a woman who alleged that the series infringed her screenplay.

In Nancy Radin v. Darlene Hunt et al, Nancy Radin sued Showtime and Hunt, claiming that the Defendants had accessed her screenplay, Quality of Life, which was centered around her personal experience with breast cancer, and that the Defendants used her screenplay in connection with their creation of The Big C, a television series about a woman living with cancer.

In December 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, ruling that Radin had not proven that the Defendants had read her screenplay before the pilot for The Big C was written. The court also awarded attorneys’ fees to the Defendants under the Copyright Act.

In a decision on November 26, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the Defendants.

“Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff … no reasonable jury could conclude either that defendants had access to plaintiff’s work or that the two works are substantially similar—much less strikingly similar,” the Ninth Circuit said. The court also affirmed the lower court’s award of attorney’s fees to the Defendants.

Loeb & Loeb partners Jonathan Zavin and David Grossman represented Showtime and Hunt in the suit.