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Judge Dismisses ‘New Girl’ Idea Theft Suit, But Claim Can Be Refiled

A federal judge is dismissing two writers’ lawsuit claiming that the TV series “New Girl” was lifted from their screenplay “Square One,” but he is giving them a chance to refile an amended case.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson found fault with the lawsuit filed by Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold because their claim references multiple versions of the “New Girl” pilot and series scripts, making it “impossible to discern” which copyrighted version of their own work was infringed. He called their copyright infringement claims “ambiguous.”

He also dismissed other claims, including breach of implied contract because the state of limitations period ran out. But he is allowing them to file a new claim.

In their lawsuit, the two writers claim that they wrote a TV script based on Counts’ personal experiences when she learned that her husband was cheating on her and moved into a three-man bachelor pad. They later wrote a feature-length screenplay and submitted it to agents, production companies and talent. They claim that WME Entertainment gave the “Square One” script to Peter Chernin, who asked for a rewrite by Elizabeth Meriwether. The project eventually was bought by Fox and became the pilot and series “New Girl.”

In their lawsuit, filed earlier this year, Counts and Gold named 22 defendants, including WME, Chernin, Meriwether and Fox.

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