Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the team behind The Hurt Locker has been thrown out. The ruling comes more than a year and a half after the the U.S. Army bomb disposal expert claimed the film’s creators based the character of Sergeant First Class William James (played by Jeremy Renner) on him. In her opinion, U.S. District Judge Jaqueline Nguyen wrote that “the value of The Hurt Locker [was] unquestionably derived from the creativity and skill of the writer, directors and producers who conceived, wrote, directed, edited and produced it.”
Among those named in the lawsuit were Kathryn Bigelow, who won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Director for the film, and Locker‘s Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal. Based on Boal’s experience as an embedded reporter in Iraq, the film took home four more awards in 2009, including Best Picture. In a statement today, Bigelow’s attorney Jeremiah Reynolds called the decision “a huge victory for all filmmakers.” Boal noted that Renner’s character was “inspired by many soldiers I met and interviewed during my time reporting in Iraq and elsewhere. It was a disservice to all of those other soldiers for Sgt. Sarver to claim that he was the only soldier that was the basis for the hero of the film.”
According to Nguyen’s ruling, Sarver is liable for the filmmakers’ legal fees. His attorney affirmed that Sarver would appeal.