‘Avatar’ Plagiarism Plaintiff Seeks to Disqualify Judge

'Statement of objection' claims judge's husband served as an exec producer and unit production manager for Fox


A man who recently lost his plagiarism suit against James Cameron is seeking to disqualify the California state court judge who sided with Cameron.

Attorneys for Eric Ryder filed the “statement of objection” in state court in Los Angeles on Monday to remove Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason due to her husband Paul Deason having allegedly served as an executive producer and unit production manager for Fox for the past six years. The filing, which did not name specific projects, also alleged that the judge had not disclosed her husband’s business relationship with the studio during the proceedings.

Even though Fox is not named as a defendant, the filing said that the studio has a “material interest” in the outcome of the litigation. Fox produced and released “Avatar,” the highest grossing movie of all time, in 2009.

Cameron and his Fox-based Lightstorm Entertainment were sued in 2011 by Ryder, who alleged he had spent two years developing a movie at Lightstorm that became the basis for “Avatar.” Ryder said he wrote an environmentally themed movie script called “K.R.Z. 2068″ and created treatments, photos, 3D imagery and characters.

Bryant-Deason granted Cameron’s motion on Oct. 2 for summary judgment and found “Avatar” was independently created by Cameron.

A spokesman for Fox said that Deason is not a Fox employee.

Jon Landau, chief operating officer at Lightstorm, said in a statement, “Plaintiff’s objection to the court’s continued involvement in the case is simply a reaction to the fact that the court ruled he had no claim.”