Quinta Brunson & ABC Sued For Copyright Infringement Over "Abbott Elementary"

Since the debut of its pilot episode on December 7, 2021, ABC’s Abbott Elementary has become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed new comedy series on television. The half-hour mockumentary workplace comedy follows a ragtag group of teachers at an underfunded inner-city school in Philadelphia, a.k.a. the titular Abbott Elementary. The hilarious new series is helmed by Philadelphia’s own Quinta Brunson, and it boasts an eclectic core cast of Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

In his March appearance on LeBron James’ The Shop, Donald Glover praised Brunson’s work on the series, and shortly after the conclusion of its first season in April, Abbott Elementary was swiftly renewed for a second season. Now, just one week after it was revealed that Abbott notched seven Emmy nominations ahead of the 74th annual Emmy awards, it appears that Quinta Brunson and ABC have hit their first roadblock with the sensational new show.

Quinta Brunson attends the 2022 TIME100 Gala on June 08, 2022 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

According to Entertainment Tonight, Brunson and ABC have been sued for copyright infringement by Christine Davis, who alleges that Abbott Elementary is a “knock-off” of her show This School Year. Court documents reveal that Davis is claiming that Abbott steals several elements from This School Year, including “nearly identical” characters, suspiciously similar plotlines for the first few episodes, the “look and feel of the inner-city school, the mockumentary style, unique plot synopsis, and set design.”

While the show has not been aired before, Davis attests that her script was registered with the copyright office in early 2020, and she alleges that the script was shared with Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks of Blue Parks Productions — neither of whom is affiliated with Abbott Elementary — and Hulu, which like ABC is a Disney property.

“Without [Davis’] permission, license, authority, or consent, [Brunson & ABC] knowingly and illegal used [Davis’] works to create the Abbott Elementary television show,” the lawsuit claims. To attest for the alleged copyright infringement, Davis is seeking a jury trial and an order for “Brunson and ABC [to] turn over all profits they made from the show.”

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