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Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer are being sued for allegedly stealing the idea for their hit Netflix series.
Charlie Kessler is suing the Duffer brothers for breach of implied contract, claiming he pitched them his concept for a sci-fi story set near an abandoned military base during a party at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Kessler says Stranger Things is based on his short film Montauk and a feature film script titled The Montauk Project — both of which are set in the New York city of the same name, which he says is home to “various urban legends, and paranormal and conspiracy theories.”
Kessler’s attorney Michael Kernan argues that the 2014 party pitch created an implied-in-fact contract pursuant to well-established industry norms.
“After the massive success of Stranger Things … Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff’s Concepts,” writes Kernan.
The Duffers responded through their attorney, Alex Kohner, who said in a statement: “Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless. He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”
The suit comes on the heels of big-ticket renegotiations with the show’s young castmembers, each of whom reportedly scored a pay raise 12 times their previous salaries.
Kessler is seeking an injunction ordering the Duffers to stop using his concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts, as well as restitution, lost profits and punitive damages.
Netflix declined to comment on the complaint, which is posted below.
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