Universal is happy it was finally able to purge this wrongful lawsuit. After a four year litigation, a writer that claimed The Purge was a ripoff of his work has agreed to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit after evidence disproved his case.
We first told you about this case way back on July 22, 2014. A time before this blog had pretty pictures to make things entertaining. Since that time the parties have been fighting out this litigation. Douglas Jordan-Benel is a screenplay writer who created Settler’s Day in 2011; a story about a family that must withstand the one night a year that killing is legal. Plaintiff claims that the two screenplays are so similar that it is a “virtual impossibility” that The Purge was independently created. Among the similarities, plaintiff claims that both scripts feature the protagonist “consuming sweet baked goods,” fathers experiencing heavy traffic of the day of the holiday, and similar action descriptions like “head exploding” versus “bits of brain flying”. (Thanks, past Michael for the easy cut and paste to sum up the lawsuit.)
Cases like this are quite common and Universal and the producers behind the successful franchise have been fighting it out since then. The parties reached a settlement and Jordan-Benel has dropped his case. In the dismissal document, the parties tell the court that: “In light of information produced in discovery demonstrating Defendant James DeMonaco’s independent creation of The Purge, Plaintiff has agreed to dismiss his lawsuit with prejudice, in exchange for a waiver by Defendants of any claim for an award of fees and costs.” Ouch, so one can assume that the writer had a draft of the script to the first movie before Jordan-Benel’s document. While the dismissal claims that Jordan-Benel got a waiver to pay fees in doesn’t say the other aspects of the settlement. Lesson learned here for the plaintiff. Always be sure before commencing a lawsuit cost it could purge your wallet if you aren’t correct.