Saturday, May 18, 2024

Lee Daniels Comes Out Victorious in $1 Billion Legal Battle Over ‘Empire’

Lee Daniels*Lee Daniels has emerged victorious in the billion dollar legal battle with a man who sued him, Terrence Howard and others, claiming their hit music drama series “Empire” is a carbon copy of his film about his life as a “gangster, pimp and drug dealer.”

As TMZ initially reported, Ron Newt, who describes himself as a “known ghetto player,” claims he met with Terrence at the Four Seasons hotel a while back and they discussed Ron’s documentary, “Bigger than Big.” Terrence allegedly was so into the project, he wanted to play Newt in the film.

When “Empire” debuted to huge ratings, Ron noted the suspicious similarities and accused Lee & co. of stealing his story. He filed a lawsuit last year, seeking a billion dollars in damages. Lee and Terrance fired back, demanding the entire case be thrown out. As Daniels explained, Newt’s story is full of crude descriptions and graphic details — something that would never be shown on his TV show. The director also pointed out how unlike in “Empire,” the music industry isn’t a major focus in the Newt’s story.

READ RELATED STORY: Behind the Scenes of President Obama’s DNC Intro Video; Plus Star Jones, Lee Daniels and More (Watch)

Daniels said his show is a “dialogue-rich, soap opera styled family drama,” unlike Newt’s dark and graphic work. A federal judge agreed with Daniels, and Ron’s lawsuit has been dismissed. The judge ruled that the two works aren’t remotely similar and he awarded the plaintiff nothing. exclusively reports that “on July 27th, the Federal Court judge presiding over the case came back with his decision and he sided with Lee Daniels by dismissing the all claims of copyright infringement and awarded the man nothing from his suit. The order explains after the judge reviewed both works, it was clear to him that the hit show and the documentary aren’t substantially similar at all.”

The judge granted Lee Daniel’s motion to dismiss the infringement claim.


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