Ryder v. Lightstorm Enter.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff appealed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Inc. on claims that defendants fraudulently expressed interest in developing plaintiff’s science fiction story KRZ and used parts of that story in Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar. Avatar is a science fiction film set in the future on Pandora, a moon of a fictional gas giant planet, occupied by an indigenous species of humanoids called Na’vi and by humans affiliated with the Resources Development Administration, and its “Sec-Ops” security force. KRZ takes place in the future mostly on Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter. KRZ tells the story of a corporate assassin who works for the Malloc super-corporation, which harvests organisms from ocean vents beneath Europa’s icy surface. To do so, the corporation uses humans as well as organic-bionic hybrid robots called “KRY’s,” which have “Y’s” on their foreheads and “limitation chips” that block emotions and free will. KRZ is a robot with a smaller limitation chip than KRY’s and is self-aware and self-motivated. The court concluded that plaintiff's contract and fiduciary duty claims failed because there was no similarity between the projects as a matter of law; plaintiff's fraud claims fail because he has not offered evidence raising a triable issue of material fact; and plaintiff's appeal of the trial court's denial of his motion for discovery sanctions is moot. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.