Writers Joseph Balsamo and Peter Ciancarelli say the network ripped off The League from their The Commissioner. In a nine-page civil complaint (read it here) filed last week in New York, the pair claim FX and League co-creator-executive producer Jeff Schaffer, also named as a defendant, lifted significant elements of the duo’s series about a group of friends who form a fantasy football league. “Given the numerous and striking similarities between the two works, there can be no dispute that defendants Schaffer and/or FX had access to and copied protectable elements of the treatment,” the suit says. The suit then outlined 10 similarities between the two works. The plaintiffs filed Commissioner with the WGA back in 2006 and put the script online soon afterwards in an effort to attract attention. The League, created by Schaffer and wife Jackie Marcus Schaffer (who is not named as a defendant), has been on FX since October 2009.
Claiming “irreparable damage as a consequence of their inability to market the treatment to television producers and networks with interest in their work”, the plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages based on profits derived from the infringement as well as legal fees. The fourth season of The League debuts on FX on October 11. Plaintiffs are represented by Anthony Mango of the New York firm Mango & Iacoviello.