| NEW YORK, April 7
NEW YORK, April 7 A federal judge on Friday
dismissed part of a playwright's lawsuit against the owner of
copyrights to Dr. Seuss' works, after it objected to how his new
play might have infringed the classic "How the Grinch Stole
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan did not
address Matthew Lombardo's main claim that his play "Who's
Holiday!" was so different from "Grinch" that it constituted
But he dismissed the New York playwright's claim accusing
Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP of "tortious conduct," including
defamation, for sending "derogatory" cease-and-desist letters
casting doubt on his play, which was to open Off Broadway in
November before its run was canceled.
"Nothing in plaintiffs' complaint or in the letters
themselves suggest that defendant acted for a wrongful purpose
or used wrongful means when sending the letters," or sent them
to disrupt Lombardo's business dealings, Hellerstein wrote.
Essentially, Lombardo said he was hurt by a tort, a type of
private wrong, but the judge said that in his court, the claim
does not belong.
A lawyer for the plaintiff did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
"Grinch" is about a grouchy, cave-dwelling monster who
decides to end Christmas, but has a change of heart after being
interrupted by Cindy Lou, a little girl.
In contrast, the Cindy Lou in "Who's Holiday!" is a profane
45-year-old woman who spent time in prison for murdering the
Grinch, who had been her husband and fathered her daughter.
Lombardo is also seeking more than $130,000 of damages,
including costs for his play's cancellation, in the lawsuit.
The case is Lombardo et al v Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-09974.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard