AceShowbiz - The filmmaking brothers behind Netflix hit "Stranger Things" are set to defend the show at trial after a judge refused to throw out a plagiarism case filed against them.
Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer will face off with plaintiff Charlie Kessler on 6 May after a Los Angeles judge ruled his legal battle with the brothers could go to trial.
Kessler claims he pitched the concept of a show that became "Stranger Things" to the Duffer Brothers at a Tribeca Film Festival party in New York four years before the show debuted, and went so far as to offer up "script, ideas, story and film" to the directors.
He also alleges the Duffers used the working title "The Montauk Project" during the early stages of "Stranger Things", which was originally set in the Long Island town of the title. Kessler's short film was called "Montauk".
The Duffers still insist the lawsuit is "completely meritless", but the judge overseeing the case has ruled they failed to produce independent evidence to support their argument.
"Defendants submit that their creation was independent and occurred prior to plaintiff's alleged disclosure of his idea to them," the judge says. "They each submit declarations relying upon and substantiating the credibility of each other's testimony. However, there is little independent verifying evidence of the originality of their idea."
"Without such admissible evidence, we are left with an issue of determining credibility that must be decided by the trier of fact. Moreover, whether or not there is a similarity between the concepts to be discerned by comparing them is a subissue of independent creation that must be decided by the trier of fact."
Netflix bosses are standing by the Duffers, who will premiere the third season of their hit show in July.
A statement from a spokesman for the streaming service reads: "The Duffer Brothers have our full support. This case has no merit."