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‘Inside Out’ lawsuit filed against Disney

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A childhood development and parenting expert is claiming Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios stole her idea for the 2015 hit film “Inside Out” after she had pitched to executives a film that would feature color-coded characters representing individual human emotions colors to help children express their feelings, according to media reports

In a complaint filed on Monday in a Los Angeles federal court and obtained by Fortune magazine, Denise Daniels said the animated film is virtually the same as a children's program called “The Moodsters” that she pitched to Disney every year from 2005 to 2009.

Ms. Daniels, who lives in Minnesota’s Twin Cities and who co-founded the National Childhood Grief Institute, claims the idea grew out of her years of counseling children after tragedies that included Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The program started with a workbook to help doctors work with children using color-coded symbols for emotions, similar to the film that has grossed $850 million, she claims.

In the lawsuit, Ms. Daniels also claims she had and “implied-in-fact” contract with Burbank, California-based Disney that promised revenues from the film’s box office and other sales.

A Disney spokesman sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday evening stating: “‘Inside Out’ was an original Pixar creation, and we look forward to vigorously defending against this lawsuit in court.”