JULY 13, 2011 Los Angeles Wave


A settlement was reached in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a former assistant to the Wayans brothers against the joke-telling family over a humor book about women who prey upon wealthy men, court papers show.

Jared Edwards claimed that during the 10 years he worked as a personal assistant to Keenen, Shawn and Marlon Wayans, he came up with the idea for a joke book about women on the prowl for "sugar daddies."

The 112-page paperback "101 Ways to Know You're a Gold Digger,' part of the Wayans' "101 Ways to Know..." series, was published by St. Martin's Press in 2009.

No details were immediately available on the settlement, reached Monday on the eve of trial, according to the court filing. A joint stipulation to dismiss the case was filed with the court Wednesday.

"The parties have resolved this matter to their mutual satisfaction," the Wayans' attorney, Jesse Kaplan, said.

Edwards' attorney declined comment.

The complaint filed in federal court in 2009 alleged that the Wayans and co-defendant St. Martin's Press committed copyright infringement and breached an implied promise to pay Edwards for use of his ideas.

He claimed he pitched the idea to the family, but the brothers rejected it before going ahead with their own version.

Kaplan said the plaintiff's claims "had absolutely no merit."

He said the court "gutted" Edwards' case "by ruling that Mr. Edwards could not recover punitive damages, statutory damages or attorney's fees" and further ruled that Edwards "could not even try to recover profits from St. Martin's Press and that he could not recover profits based on the other two joke books in the series."

"We had overwhelming evidence proving that there was no infringement," Kaplan said. "We were ready to go to trial on this matter and defend against Mr. Edwards' so-called claims."