Chuck Zito lost his lawsuit against FX Networks today.
Zito, a well known member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, professional bodyguard, former actor on the HBO series Oz and author had claimed that the FX biker drama Sons of Anarchy was based on a treatment he wrote and that his work had been stolen by FX.
Zito began selling his proposed series, titled Nomads, in 2003. He retitled the show The Wild Angels the next year and kept trying to sell the show to FX through 2005. FX bought the rights to Sons of Anarchy in 2006.
Zito filed suit against the network, his former agent and two network executives in June 2010 because, he alleged, a network executive “disclosed Zito’s ideas for the project to (Kurt) Sutter to develop the series for FX.” Kurt Sutter is an executive producer on Sons of Anarchy and is credited as the show’s creator. Zito sought a sum in excess of $5 million in the suit.
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FX’s attorneys, Scott Edelman and Rick Stone, filed a motion for a summary judgment on December 8. Summary judgment motions argue that a case is so clear cut that a judge should not waste his time on a trial. Edelman is a particularly well known, well respected and feared entertainment litigator.
Zito’s lawyer, Steven Lowe, filed his objection to the motion for summary judgment December 12.
Today Judge Steven J. Kleifield agreed that a trial would be a waste of time and granted the summary judgment for FX and against Zito. Kleifield ruled that a declaration filed under seal by Kurt Sutter this week proved that the idea for Sons of Anarchy belonged to FX and had nothing to do with Zito. According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, the secret declaration illustrated “Sutter’s development process and the fact that Sons was pitched to several networks, including HBO and AMC, before arriving at FX, which bought the project in a bidding war.”
Zito’s fall back career plans include the Gourmet Goombahs.