3:25pm PT by Ashley Cullins
'Peter Rabbit' Animator Asks Court to Toss Producer's Claims
The animation company behind Peter Rabbit is asking a California federal judge to grant summary judgment and toss the claims of a producer who says he was conned into signing over his intellectual property rights related to the film.
In October 2016, Jason Lust sued Animal Logic, claiming the VFX house turned production company convinced him to hand over his IP rights and then shut him out of working on the project. Animal Logic countersued, arguing their relationship was "at will" and it was clear in their agreement that Lust would have to sign over any copyrights or other IP he owned in connection with projects he worked on for the company.
Now, Animal Logic is asking the court for summary judgment on one of its claims and all of Lust's. It is asking U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt to rule in its favor on: its breach of contract claims, arguing Lust refused to sign COEs in breach of his short form agreement; Lust's breach of contract claims, arguing his breaches occurred before any alleged breaches by Animal Logic; Lust's breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim, arguing it did not have an obligation to ensure studios used his producing services on any project; Lust's breach of fiduciary duty claim, arguing he failed to prove a breach of the SFA; and Lust's fraud claims, arguing that a one can't be fraudulently induced to do something he or she is contractually obligated to do.
"Only in Hollywood would someone who has received compensation and credit sue because no one asked him to do any actual work," writes attorney John Schaeffer. "While some in Hollywood believe they are special, the law does not so discriminate. ... As a matter of law, the defendants here are not liable for failing to meet Lust’s aspirations, nor will the law excuse Lust’s breaches simply because Lust believes he is due more."
According to the filing, Lust will stipulate to summary judgment on Animal Logic's breach of contract claim and concedes that his loan out company owes $100,000, but opposes the motion with respect to all other claims.
The full filing is posted below.