James Cameron wins 'Avatar' theft lawsuit

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com  |  Feb. 5, 2013 at 2:31 PM
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The lawsuit came from Gerald Morawski in December, 2011, claiming breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Morawski's lawsuit was just one of many filed by individuals alleging their work was appropriated for Avatar, but he got further than other lawsuits already dismissed due to showing personal contact with both Cameron and employees at his company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Morawski met Cameron in 1991 and sold the director four pieces of art. The plaintiff claimed that during this time, he pitched Guardians of Eden, about an epic struggle between evil mining interests and an indigenous tribe that lives in harmony with its environment. Morawski alleged that he signed a non-disclosure agreement, and demanded compensation for the ideas he allegedly shared.

Director James Cameron hold the award for Best Picture "Avatar" at the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton on January 17, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. Cameron also won for Best Director. (File/UPI /Jim Ruymen)
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But U.S. District Court judge Margaret Morrow says, over the course of 33 pages, that "because the undisputed evidence demonstrates that Cameron independently created Avatar and did not breach the Agreement, Morawski cannot demonstrate that he suffered damage as the result of misappropriation of his ideas or that he incurred costs in reliance on defendants' promise."

In defense against Morawski's claims, Cameron submitted a 45-page sworn declaration that details how he came up with Avatar, and talked about two sequels.

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