Paramount & Puzo Estate Settle ‘Godfather’ Suit

The war is over. Paramount Pictures and the estate of The Godfather author Mario Puzo have reached a settlement in their legal battle over new books and movies based on the Mafia classic. On Thursday, lawyers for both sides submitted a brief joint stipulation (read it here) to the U.S. District Court in New York asking for all claims to be dismissed. “This stipulation of dismissal with prejudice is pursuant to a settlement agreement among Paramount and Puzo and is not an adjudication on the merits of the claims or defenses of either party,” the stipulation said. No details of the settlement were made public.

This week’s deal comes after Judge Alison Nathan ruled on September 26 that Paramount, which released the original Godfather film in 1972 and its subsequent sequels, can make more movies about the Corleone clan if it still wants to. This legal war started in February when Paramount sued the Puzo estate to stop the publication of an “unauthorized” third Godfather sequel/prequel. In its suit, the studio claimed the book blemished the legacy of the films. In March, the estate countersued, claiming that the contract between Puzo and Paramount distinctly excluded book rights. The countersuit claimed that Paramount is in material breach of its contract with Mario Puzo. The two sides reached an agreement in May to allow the publication of new The Family Corleone book while the case went on. Richard Kendall and Nicholas Daum of LA firm Kendall Brill & Klieger represented Paramount in the joint stipulation. The Puzo estate is represented by Bert Fields of Los Angeles’ Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger.

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