CASE BACKGROUND: On June 1, 2010, writer-producer, Kung-fu master and Tai Chi expert Terence Dunn filed suit against Dreamworks Studios, LLC and Dreamworks Animation SKG, Inc. in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of implied contract over DWA's release of the film Kung-fu Panda on June 8, 2008 without compensating him. Dunn claimed that in 2001 and 2002 he had pitched to Dreamworks SKG executives Lance Young and Michael Lachance his story about "a spiritually-marked Kung-Fu-fighting panda bear" named Zen-Bear who is trained by five animal friends who are Kung-Fu masters--a tiger, leopard, snake, crane and dragon--and fulfills his destiny as a martial hero/spiritual avatar (as foretold by a young tortoise sage) by saving the inhabitants of Plum Flower Village from a horde of Kung-fu-fighting animal attackers–a pack of rats, a clan of yellow monkeys, and a pack of hyenas--who are all led by the arch-villain Praying Mantis. In his Complaint, Dunn claims that "Kung fu Panda" released in June 2008 is substantially similar in all material respects to the ideas that he had presented to Dreamworks executives Lance Young and Michael Lachance from 2001 to 2002. In August 2010, in answer to Dreamworks' written interrogatories, Dunn, based on the advice of his attorney Glen Kulik, asserted minimum damages of $20,000,000 based on their knowledge of two Kung Fu Panda films as of that time. Dunn and his attorney learned on December 10, 2010 that Dreamworks has announced five sequels to the first KF Panda film for a total of six films--one more than the defendants' Shrek franchise. Dunn's claim for damages at trial will be expounded by his forensic economist.
• The Defendants' answer to Dunn's Complaint filed on July 15, 2010 by Dreamworks' defense counsel David Grossman of the Loeb & Loeb law firm stated a blanket denial of his allegations: "Defendants deny generally and specifically each and every allegation contained in the Complaint and each cause of action thereof, and generally and specifically deny that Plaintiff has sustained any injury, damages or loss whatsoever, or at all, by reason of any conduct action, error, or omission on the part of Defendants."
• On December 2, Judge JoAnne O'Donnell denied Dreamworks' Motion to Bifurcate Dunn's discovery into liability and damages. The motion attempted to prevent Dunn from discovering Dreamworks' financial gains from the Kung Fu Panda film and merchandising franchise until Dreamworks' liability had been proven in the case. In denying the Motion, Judge McDonnell admonished Dreamworks' counsel for making "poor arguments" and sustained Dunn's counsel's objection to a Declaration submitted by Dreamworks attorney David Grossman. This ruling means that the defendants must disclose to Dunn their revenues and profits derived from the Kung Fu Panda franchise.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS WEBSITE: Terence Dunn sued the Dreamworks companies for breach of implied-in-fact contract, claiming that the Defendants pushed him aside after months of discussing his "Zen-Bear" proposal (after Dunn pitched it to Dreamworks' Senior V.P. of Production and Creative Affairs on November 15, 2001) and made "Kung-Fu Panda" based on his original concept of a Kung-Fu Fighting panda bear and numerous story elements that include the panda hero being mentored by five animal kung-fu masters, who then saves the inhabitants of a peaceful village from marauding animal antagonists. By allegedly stealing Dunn's concept and numerous story elements to make "Kung Fu Panda", Dreamworks not only breached an implied-in-fact contract between the and deprivde him of the reasonable value of his ideas, but also, Dunn claims, pre-empted his long-developed and artfully-designed Zen-Bear animation franchise, which he had begun working on in 1992--two years before Dreamworks SKG was founded--that he intended to be a vehicle for teaching the best of Chinese culture, art, martial art, philosophy, and spiritualism to the West. The Timeline Exhibit presented on this website establishes Dunn's 1992 creation of Zen-Bear, the earliest kung-fu-fighting panda bear concept and the first one reduced to tangible form.
THE FOLLOWING ARE MILESTONES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF DUNN'S "ZEN-BEAR®" FRANCHISE THAT DREAMWORKS EXECUTIVES LANCE YOUNG AND MICHAEL LACHANCE WERE ALLEGEDLY INFORMED ABOUT (UP THROUGH 2002), WHEN THEY AND DREAMWORKS' TOP MANAGEMENT DECIDED TO EXPLOIT DUNN'S CONCEPT AND STORY IDEAS BY DEVELOPING THEIR OWN KUNG-FU PANDA PROJECT WITHOUT COMPENSATING HIM: