Court Backs WGA On Credits

A California appeals court has upheld the Writers Guild of America’s writing credit determination for the film “Beverly Hills Cop II,” stating that the guild can handle credit problems better than the courts can.

In a written opinion, the state appellate court rejected screenwriter Larry Ferguson’s request that the court read all stories and screenplays and decide that he should receive sole credit for the Eddie Murphy film.

Ferguson went to court in 1987, arguing that he deserved sole writing credit for the film’s story and screenplay because the final draft contained most of his work and others contributed only a small percentage. Superior Court Judge Richard A. Torres rejected his claim.

In 1987, the Writers Guild approved a proposed producer’s credit for the story to Murphy and Robert D. Wachs, one of the film’s producers. Ferguson and writer Warren Skaaren received joint screenplay credit.

Ferguson had claimed that he got no input from Murphy and that Wachs merely suggested four story points out of 33 that Ferguson included in the first draft.

In his suit, Ferguson raised questions about the WGA arbitration process, which he said was structured to deny due process. He also criticized the arbitration process for being cloaked in confidentiality.

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