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Stallone Wins “The Expendables” Lawsuit

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan reaffirmed his dismissal of a lawsuit accusing Sylvester Stallone of plagiarizing the screenplay of one Marcus Webb, to create the 2010 movie, “The Expendables.” The federal court rejected Webb’s claims of “The Expendables” having “striking similarities” to his “The Cordoba Caper.”

Webb claimed that both works portrayed a Latin American country ruled by a villain dictator named General Garza, and both had similar plots and involved hired mercenaries. However, Rakoff said that the similarities were insufficient to prompt any reasonable juror to eliminate the chances of Stallone having created the screenplay on his own.

Rakoff wrote, “The court has carefully examined the entire litany of plaintiff’s proffered ‘striking similarities’ and finds none of them remotely striking or legally sufficient.”

On the issue of both works having a dictator called General Garza as a central character, the court pointed out with statistics that “Garza” was the 34th most common Hispanic nickname in the United States. Rakoff further wrote, “These are two very different screenplays built on a familiar theme: mercenaries taking on a Latin American dictator.”

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Rakoff had already dismissed the case in June, but did not provide his reasons for dismissing the matter until Thursday.

“The Expendables” was a big enough hit to have a sequel, “The Expendables 2” released this year. Other defendants in the matter, besides Stallone, included Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, the US distributor of the movie, and Nu Image Films, the producer.

The case is Webb v. Stallone et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-07517.

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