Jeffrey S. Sarver, a U.S. Army sergeant, sued the director and her screenwriter for portraying him without permission in the gritty 2008 movie, but he lost his appeal on Wednesday (17Feb16) when a federal panel ruled the movie was protected by free-speech rights.

Sgt. Sarver argued in his lawsuit that the main character in the film, played by Jeremy Renner, was inspired by him, and he sued for invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other violations.

Boal, who interviewed Sarver for a Playboy magazine article, maintained Jenner's bomb disposal character was not based on the sergeant, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Upholding the dismissal of Sarver's suit on Wednesday, judges at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, "The Hurt Locker is speech that is fully protected by the First Amendment, which safeguards the storytellers and artists who take the raw materials of life... and transform them into art, be it articles, books, movies, or plays.

"Although the film allegedly incorporates personal characteristics of Sarver - for example his appearance, his temperament, and parts of his biography - such characteristics are displayed only in the context of the character's experiences fighting in Iraq."