Judge Tosses L.A. Lawsuit Over `Shape of Water' Story

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles federal judge tossed a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright against Guillermo del Toro over elements of the film director's multiple Oscar-winning fantasy ``The Shape of Water,'' according to court papers obtained today. 

David Zindel, son of the late playwright Paul Zindel, alleged in the February complaint that Del Toro's film ``brazenly copies'' the story, characters and themes from his father's ``Let Me Hear You Whisper,'' which was adapted into made-for-TV movies in 1969 and 1990.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson issued a ruling Monday dismissing the suit with prejudice -- meaning permanently -- and saying that del Toro and Fox Searchlight are entitled to recover the costs of defending against the claim. 

In a statement issued when the lawsuit was filed, Fox Searchlight denied that the film was based on Zindel's play, calling the infringement allegations ``baseless, wholly without merit.''The suit came less than two weeks before the Academy Awards telecast, where 

``The Shape of Water'' was nominated for a leading 13 Oscars, including best picture, best director, best original screenplay and acting awards. It won four, including best picture and best director for del Toro.

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