Movie Execs Read Too Much Into Lawyer's Note
(CN) - An email stating "done ... thanks!" did not set the wheels in motion for a film adaptation of a book by one of the creators of "Twin Peaks," a California appeals court ruled.
"Twin Peaks" co-creator Mark Frost published a book in 2007 called "The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever." The book tells the story of a 1956 match pitting seasoned professional golfers Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan against promising amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi.
With MVP Entertainment president Robert Frederick hoping to make the book into a movie, their lawyers negotiated a purchase of the copyright.
MVP's attorney, William Jacobson, emailed a proposal with the note: "Let me know if this is okay and we'll send paperwork."
Alan Wertheimer, Frost's attorney replied: "done ... thanks! Werth."
Frost later told Frederick that he did not want to adapt "The Match" into a movie. MVP responded by suing Frost for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation and declaratory relief.
MVP took the position that the "done ... thanks!" email created a binding contract to make the movie. But Wertheimer and Front noted that the lawyer never signed contracts on the author's behalf.
A Los Angeles County judge entered summary judgment against MVP, and Division Eight of the state's Second Appellate District affirmed Wednesday.
"Because MVP failed to raise a triable issue of fact showing that Wertheimer was respondents' duly authorized agent, its remaining arguments cannot defeat summary judgment," Justice Madeleine Flier wrote for a three-member panel. "MVP fails to show one prerequisite to transfer copyright, and therefore even if it can demonstrate other necessary elements, it cannot defeat summary judgment."