Like one of the characters from the books that the TNT series is based on, Rizzoli & Isles author Tess Gerritsen won’t give up the fight. Gerritsen filed an amended complaint in the matter earlier this week, as she said she would. Last month, a federal judge dismissed the author’s initial $10 million breach-of-contract action against Warner Bros over her 1999 Gravity novel and the Oscar-winning 2013 Alfonso Cuaron-directed and studio released film of the same name.
With the matter never even getting to the point of evaluating whether or not the 2013 Gravity film was based on or derived from her 1999 Gravity novel, Gerristen called out the dismissal on her blog on January 31. “This is why every writer in Hollywood should be alarmed,” she wrote. As is, the situation “means that any parent film company who acquires a studio, and also acquires that studio’s intellectual properties, can exploit those properties without having to acknowledge or compensate the original authors.”
In short, once gain, the author stresses that because she had a deal over 15 years ago with then New Line-owned Katja Productions for the rights to her novel and because WB bought New Line in 2008, the larger studio holds the contractual obligations to her. WB obviously disagreed with this argument in Gerristen’s original filing of April 2014 and filed a motion to dismiss back in June last year. In granting that motion on January 30 this year, Judge Margaret Murrow cited “deficiencies” in the first complaint and allowed the author the ability to re-file an amended complaint.
And Gerritsen’s lawyer Glen L. Kulik and Natalie N. Mutz of Sherman Oaks firm Kulik Gottesman and Siegel LLP did just that yesterday, with vigor.
“By virtue of the consolidation of WB and New Line in 2008, WB became the successor-in-interest of New Line,” says the February 19 filing, very similar to what the previous filing stated (read it here). “In sum, since 2008, WB has used and abused the corporate structure of New Line and Katja to advance WB’s own interests and in an attempt to avoid liabilities to third parties, which is intended to leave third parties without a remedy and is unconscionable.”
“Throughout the period 2008 to the present, New Line and Katja have been and still are alter egos of WB,” adds the 25-page complaint, also seeking $10 million bucks. “There is such a unity of interest and ownership that the individuality and separateness of defendants has ceased and in the particular circumstances presented by this case an adherence to the fiction of the separate existence of the corporate defendants would promote injustice.”
WB had no comment on the jury trial seeking amended complaint but you wouldn’t be throwing money away to bet they’ll move for another motion to dismiss in the near future.