Disney Sued Again Over 'Zootopia'

Disney is headed to court over Zootopia again.

Total Recall screenwriter Gary Goldman has filed a second lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company claiming that the House of Mouse stole his "artwork, dialogue, characters (both character traits and designs), themes, settings, and plot structure," Deadline reports. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

This is the second time Goldman's Esplanade Productions has sued Disney over the Academy Award-winning film. In March of last year, Goldman sued in federal court. His complaint at that time was nearly identical, claiming that in addition to the artwork and other elements, Disney also stole the title Zootopia. The primary difference between this new suit and the federal one is that instead of a copyright claim, Goldman is seeking breach of implied fact contract complaint.

Goldman claims, as he has previously, that he pitched the idea for his version of Zootopia to executives with Disney in both 2000 and 2009. He also claims that he had several sit-down meetings with Disney over the idea and even included side-by-side comparisons of his concepts with Disney's finished film as evidence of the alleged intellectual theft. It's evidence that Goldman included in his previous federal suit as well.

That evidence wasn't enough to convince a federal judge last year. Goldman's original lawsuit was dismissed with the judge writing that Esplanade Productions had not provided enough evidence of infringement.

"In this action, as in every action, it is the plaintiff's obligation to allege sufficient facts, if proved true, to permit a jury to rule in the plaintiff's favor, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote in his decision last year. "Esplanade has not met that burden here."

The judge in that case also noted that the Goldman's allegations also "actively obfuscate the details of the infringement."


Disney has to responded to today's complaint, though this isn't the only lawsuit alleging theft that the company is currently dealing with. In November, writers A. Lee Alfred II and Ezequiel Martinez Jr. filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that Disney stole "copyrighted expression of themes, settings, dialogue, characters, plot, mood, sequences of events" from a 2000 spec script the pair wrote entitled Pirates of the Caribbean. The screenwriters claim in their lawsuit that they had submitted their script while working for Disney on the never-completed Red Hood film project.