Duffer Brothers Ask Court to Trim ‘Stranger Things’ Trial Topics

Matt and Ross Duffer are headed for trial next week defending themselves in a lawsuit that claims they took the idea for their Netflix hit Stranger Things from a man they met at a film festival party in 2014, and they’re asking the court to narrow the range of information presented to the jury.

Charlie Kessler in April 2018 sued the brothers, claiming Stranger Things is based on his short film Montauk and a feature script titled The Montauk Project and that they breached an implied contract with him.

On Tuesday, the Duffers filed a series of motions asking the court to preclude testimony and evidence on several topics they think aren’t relevant and could prejudice the jury against them.

First, the Duffers want the court to bar any reference to Kessler’s scripts. They contend Kessler has no evidence that he “disclosed anything in his screenplays to the Duffers, beyond whatever he said at the party” and he’s hoping the jury will speculate that “because he sent a version of his Montauk Project screenplay to one of hundreds of agents who work at the Paradigm talent agency, at which another agent who then represented the Duffers also worked, the Duffers accessed his screenplay by osmosis.”

They also want to keep Kessler from introducing any testimony or evidence that he emailed a Paradigm agent, because it could mislead the jury. The Duffers argue that the agent to whom Kessler sent the script subsequently sent it to a “reader” who reported back that it wasn’t worth pursuing and it wasn’t distributed to anyone else in the agency.

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