Judge Dismisses ‘Empire’ Lawsuit Against Lee Daniels
A federal judge has dismissed a $600 million lawsuit against Lee Daniels over his hit show Empire. Romanus Castro launched legal papers against Daniels, producer Danny Strong, and bosses at Fox Network, alleging they stole ideas from his screenplay, titled The Summit of Beauty of Love, for the series starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard.
Castro claims he sent the screenplay out to several networks in 2003, but never received a response. In the lawsuit, Castro points out similarities in the two shows, with his screenplay centring on a music journalist who falls in love with a schizophrenic musician, with the characters based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also alleges he had a son character who is gay, like Jussie Smollett’s storyline in Empire. However, earlier this month, a judge ruled Castro did not present enough evidence to show he owned a copyright to his works and threw out the case. Castro has 30 days to re-file an amended complaint, according to TheJasmineBrand.com. This isn’t the only Empire-related legal tussle Daniels is facing. He has also been sued by four other plaintiffs over similar allegations, including the most recent suit filed by Clayton Tanksley, who once appeared on The Cosby Show. He launched legal action against Daniels in January, alleging he stole the idea for the hit drama from a show he created, called Cream, which he pitched to the filmmaker and a panel of judges during a Greater Philadelphia Film Office event in 2008.