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'Avatar' Plagiarism Plaintiff Appeals Judge's Disqualification Ruling

MoviesJames CameronAvatar (movie)Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

The plaintiff who lost a plagiarism suit to James Cameron over "Avatar" has appealed a judge's refusal to disqualify herself from the case.

Eric Ryder, who recently lost the suit, filed the appeal Wednesday with the California Second District Court of Appeal.

He had sought to disqualify Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason due to her husband Paul Deason having allegedly served as an executive producer and unit production manager for Fox for the past six years. Ryder also asserted that she had not disclosed her husband's business relationship with the studio during the proceedings.

Bryant-Deason, in an order filed Oct. 23, concluded there were no grounds for disqualification because Fox is not a party to the litigation. She also said that she had told the parties that her husband, Paul Deason, is a line producer who works as an independent contractor for production companies and is not an employee of Twentieth Century Fox.

Fox produced and released "Avatar," the highest grossing movie of all time, in 2009.

Cameron and his Fox-based Lightstorm Entertainment were sued in 2011 by Ryder, who alleged he had spent two years developing a movie at Lightstorm that became the basis for "Avatar." Ryder said he wrote an environmentally themed movie script called "K.R.Z. 2068″ and created treatments, photos, 3D imagery and characters.

Bryant-Deason granted Cameron's motion on Oct. 2 for summary judgment and found "Avatar" was independently created by Cameron.

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