Torts Keyed to Epstein
Muzikowski v. Paramount Pictures Corp
Plaintiff, a licensed securities broker and insurance salesman, was active in founding and coaching inner-city Little League Baseball programs in very poor neighborhoods. A book, Hardball: A Season in the Projects was published, which devoted some attention to Plaintiff and his life. Defendant acquired the motion picture rights to Coyle’s book and produced the movie Hardball, which tells the story of a coach named Conor O’Neill. No character in the movie is named Robert or Muzikowski and there are no references to Little League Baseball. The credits of Hardball state, “[w]hile this motion picture is in part inspired by actual events, persons and organizations, this is a fictitious story and no actual persons, events or organizations have been portrayed.” The O’Neill character in the movie version of Hardball experiences was almost identical to Plaintiff. The only differences, in Plaintiff’s opinion, are unflattering and false as applied to the real man. When Defendant announce d to the public that it was going to make the movie Hardball, Plaintiff began getting telephone calls from all over the country from friends and acquaintances telling him that Defendant was about to make a movie about him. Defendant made it clear that the movie Hardball was to be based on the book. Plaintiff sought to enjoin the distribution of the film. The district court dismissed his claim for damages on summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed.
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