Philip K. Dick Estate Drops ‘Adjustment Bureau’ Lawsuit

Move to dismiss suit over 2011 Matt Damon movie comes after judge throws out all but one of the original claims

The estate of science-fiction author Philip K. Dick dropped its lawsuit against the makers of the 2011 film "The Adjustment Bureau" on Friday, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.

In the papers, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust moved to have its suit dismissed without prejudice. Earlier this month, Judge Otis D. Wright II dismissed a number of the claims from the original lawsuit, which was filed in October 2011.

Also read: Philip K. Dick Trust Sues Over Unpaid "Adjustment Bureau" Royalties

Dick's trust had sought damages plus interest from director/writer George Nolfi, producer Michael Hackett, MRC II Distribution and Oaktree Entertainment Inc., claiming that they had tried to skirt paying for the rights on the Philip K. Dick short story "The Adjustment Team" by claiming it was in the public domain.

The suit contended that the defendants initially agreed to purchase the rights to the story for between $1 million and $2 million, depending on the film's budget, plus another $100,000 once the film broke even — and then stopped payment when they found that the story's copyright may have expired.

"[M]otivated solely by greed, defendants seek to establish themselves as a de facto ‘Adjustment Bureau’ of Hollywood,” the suit reads. “Using heavy-handed means, they seek to ‘adjust’ agreements entered into long-ago agreed, ‘adjust’ determinations made long ago by the U.S. Copyright Office, and even ‘adjust’ history so as to hoard any and all monies rightfully earned by the estate of the man whose genius inspired what is indisputably a highly successful film.”

While the short story was first published in a magazine in 1954, which would have placed it in the public domain, the trust claimed that the first authorized publication of "The Adjustment Team" was in the 1973 collection "The Book of Philip K. Dick."

According to Box Office Mojo, "The Adjustment Bureau" has made nearly $128 million worldwide, on a production budget of $50.2 million.

In February, a judge dismissed all of the Dick estate's contract-related claims without prejudice, leaving only the copyright matter, saying that it didn't have jurisdiction over the copyright claims.

"We could not be happier for our partner George Nolfi now that the lawsuit concerning 'The Adjustment Bureau,' brought by the heirs of the Philip K. Dick estate has been dismissed,"  MRC II Distribution said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. "George is not only a talented artist, but an individual of the highest integrity and to claim or suggest otherwise is both offensive and completely unwarranted."

Justin M. Goldstein, an attorney for the Dick estate, countered that the dismissal doesn't amount to a vindication for the defendants.

 

The Judge's ruling and our decision to dismiss the remaining portions of the federal case had nothing to do with the merits of any of the claims,” Goldstein said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “The Judge only concluded that state court is the appropriate forum for the dispute.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.