‘Year of the Dog’ Scores Mike White a Big Fat Lawsuit

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It seems to be the time of questionable lawsuits. Last week, Scott Weinberg posted about the Canadian author, Rebecca Eckler, who is suing Judd Apatow for similarities between her book and his latest -- Knocked Up. Now, Mike White is getting sued for his recent Year of the Dog. It seems that his former friend, Laura Kightlinger, says that the idea came from her, although the claim seems a little weak. She's filed suit alleging that she gave him a script called We Are Animals (about a woman who loves rescuing cats), which became his doggie film.

Now, if you caught James Rocchi's interview with White in April, you might remember where the writer/director says that he got his material -- a stray cat he had inherited who had died: "this cat's death just totally spun me out in a way that I totally did not expect... I just thought, 'Well, that's an interesting idea for a movie premise -- somebody who has a relationship with a pet, and the loss of that changes their life in a way.'" If this is the case, I can't see her script being the source, unless he follows her plot closely. However, White says: "They are totally different scripts. I know there is a similarity in the sense that (the female leads) both have pets that they care about, but beyond that, everything she is saying that is similar seems like a real stretch to me." Meanwhile, Kightlinger's lawyer says: "There was an expectation that if she told him her idea and he was going to use it in some way, she would be paid and she would also be involved in the project." So, they'll continue going through a he-said, she-said with broken ex-friend egos, and potentially some undisclosed settlement.
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