by Natalie Finn | Tue., Dec. 9, 2008 4:45 PM
Tyler Perry's empire is secure for now.
A federal judge ruled in favor of the family-friendly entertainment dynamo Tuesday, determining that a woman who claimed Perry pilfered ideas for Diary of a Mad Black Woman had failed to prove her case.
Perry, who wrote and produced the 2005 film and then fat-suited up to play family matriarch Madea in the romantic dramedy, testified last week that Diary's screenplay—adapted from his 2001 play of the same name—was entirely his own.
"I never stole anything from anybody—never," he said.
Plaintiff Donna West said in her complaint, filed in May 2007, that Perry's film ripped off her play Fantasy of a Black Woman, which had three performances in Dallas in 1991. West contends the House of Payne purveyor could easily have gotten his hands on a copy of the script while working in the area in 1998.
West's attorney told reporters that they plan to seek a new trial. She had been requesting a portion of the film's $50 million-some in proceeds, as well as unspecified damages.
Also named in the copyright-infringement lawsuit were Tyler Perry Inc. and Lionsgate Entertainment.