A Montgomery County man has filed a lawsuit against Time Warner Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., New Line Productions Inc., and famed sibling writers Chad and Carey Hayes on grounds the entities unlawfully produced and exploited the 2013 supernatural horror movie "The Conjuring."
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas records show Tony DeRosa-Grund initiated legal action on Sept. 22. The suit asserts that "The Conjuring" is a work derived from DeRosa-Grund’s original story and treatment of the same title.
“The defendants produced and distributed 'The Conjuring' Film without first acquiring or licensing the requisite derivative theatrical motion picture and ancillary rights to the ‘The Conjuring Treatment’,” the original petition says. “To date, the aforementioned productions have generated over half a billion dollars in revenue for the defendants.”
Court documents explain that DeRosa-Grund was involved in an involuntary personal bankruptcy case in 2009, stating New Line at the time failed to acquire “The Conjuring Treatment” since the work was “inadvertently left off” DeRosa-Grund’s bankruptcy schedules.
The complaint argues the Hayes brothers obtained a copy without DeRosa-Grand’s consent from an individual unknown to the plaintiff. The siblings have acknowledged they took the text in question, read it and proceeded to come up with a motion picture script based on the story with a change in the point-of-view, the suit says.
It further charges that despite the sibling defendants’ admission, they did not obtain “the rights to make any derivative work of (DeRosa-Grund’s) ‘The Conjuring Treatment’.”
New Line then produced The Conjuring and released it to theaters on July 19, 2013. The film grossed nearly $320,000,000 worldwide to date, and is considered one of the most profitable theatrical motion picture films of 2013.
DeRosa-Grund says the Hayes’ script bears “glaring and substantial” similarities to his work. He believes the defendants have worked on a sequel to "The Conjuring" and intend to release the film later this month.
“The plaintiff placed the defendants on notice of their infringement yet the defendants willfully continue to infringe the plaintiff’s rights under copyright, in disregard of and indifference to the plaintiff’s rights,” the suit says.
Consequently, DeRosa-Grund seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.
He is representing himself.
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:15-CV-2763