Philip K. Dick Estate Settles 'Adjustment Bureau' Rights Fight

14 BIZ NEXT BIG THING Adjustment Bureau
Andy Schwartz/Universal Studios

The legal fight over The Adjustment Bureau has been resolved.

Media Rights Capital, which produced the Matt Damon film, traded lawsuits with the estate of author Philip K. Dick over claims that the rights to the sci-fi story were in the public domain. But the two sides are settling the case, releasing the following carefully crafted statement on Tuesday:

“Media Rights Capital and the Philip K. Dick Estate have resolved their claims against each other concerning The Adjustment Bureau. The settlement includes the opportunity to work together on future Philip K. Dick Estate properties."

In October 2011, the estate of the late sci-fi author sued MRC and filmmaker George Nolfi in federal court claiming they were refusing to pay millions of dollars in royalties because they believed the story that formed the basis for the film was in the public domain. The Dick estate claimed Nolfi approached it in 2001 seeking rights to The Adjustment Team, Dick's 1953 story about a group of men who "adjust" the lives of ordinary citizens. The estate agreed to license the story, with Nolfi saying he would make "substantial payments" to the trust if the movie ever got made. 

Years later, Nolfi and MRC exercised an 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.

A judge later dismissed key claims in the case from federal court, prompting the estate to drop the lawsuit entirely. The trust then re-filed the case in state court as a claim for breach of contract and other causes of action.

Now the two sides have come to an agreement to end the litigation.

“The Estate is pleased to continue our relationship with MRC," said Laura Leslie, Philip K. Dick's daughter and trustee for the Estate, in a statement. "MRC’s talent-friendly executives and proven track record of producing high-quality entertainment across multiple platforms make them an ideal partner for us."

MRC was represented by Michael Kump and Jeremiah Reynolds of Santa Monica's Kinsella Weitzman firm. The Dick estate was repped by Russell Frackman at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.