April 23, 2012 8:38pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Philip K. Dick Estate Re-Files 'Adjustment Bureau' Lawsuit
The estate of celebrated science-fiction author Philip K. Dick isn't done fighting over profits from the 2011 Matt Damon film The Adjustment Bureau. Two months after the estate dropped a federal copyright lawsuit against producer Media Rights Capital and filmmaker George Nolfi in the wake of a judge throwing out key elements of the suit, a new lawsuit has been filed in state court.
The claims in Monday's Los Angeles Superior Court suit are similar to the federal case. As we first wrote back in October, the estate alleges that Nolfi and MRC refused to pay millions of dollars in royalties from the 2011 film because they believed that the Dick story on which it is based had fallen into the public domain.
The Dick estate argues that Nolfi approached it in 2001 seeking rights to The Adjustment Team, a 1953 story about a group of men who "adjust" the lives of ordinary citizens. The estate claims it agreed to license the story and Nolfi agreed to make "substantial payments" to the trust if the movie ever got made. Years later, Nolfi and MRC exercised the option to produce the movie for Universal. But a month after the film was released in March 2011, Nolfi and MRC claimed they discovered that Adjustment Team was in the public domain, which should have allowed them to make the movie without paying the trust anything.
The re-filing of the lawsuit isn't unexpected. Estate lawyer Justin Goldstein promised he wasn't done with the case, and on Monday he issued this statement to THR:
"The Philip K. Dick Trust continued its litigation today against producer Media Rights Capital in Los Angeles County Superior Court, filing a complaint to enforce its agreement related to the motion picture The Adjustment Bureau. We had hoped to avoid having to take this step, but are left with no choice because Media Rights Capital continues to ignore its contractual obligations. We are confident that the court will find that Philip K. Dick’s heirs are entitled to receive what they were promised in return for the right to use their father's work and name in producing and distributing The Adjustment Bureau."
The new complaint alleges damages of at least $500,000 on causes of action for breach of contract, money had and received, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and accounting.