Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

Injured Texans Punter Kicks Back at Reliant Stadium Owners Over Unsafe Turf

Former Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann sued the owners of Reliant Stadium for negligence over the career-threatening knee injury he sustained last December due to allegedly “unsafe turf.” The grass at Reliant Stadium is laid out in approximately 1,200 8′ x 8′ squares, which creates thousands of seams that threaten players’ safety, one of which resulted in Hartmann’s injury. Grass turf in most other stadiums consist of a single piece, posing little to no threat of unexpectedly snagging a player’s foot.  Hartmann alleges that the…

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Pandora Opens Box of Copyright Issues with Proposal to Congress

Over one hundred artists signed an open letter to be published in this weekend’s Billboard Magazine, making it abundantly clear that they oppose Pandora’s stance on The Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would decrease the royalty rates paid by Internet radio companies. Signees include crowd favorites such as Katy Perry, Rihanna, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Buffett and Billy Joel. The artists grouped together to ask Pandora why they are begging Congress to step in and “gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon” when they…

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GUEST ANALYSIS: Cleveland Indians Sent to Dugout – Appeal to 6th Circuit to Stay in the Game

What was supposed to be a fun-filled day at the Cleveland Indians ballpark turned tragic.  An inflatable slide set up just outside the ballpark as part of a promotional event, collapsed killing one visitor and hurting another.  A subsequent investigation found that the slide had not been properly installed. The families of the deceased and injured visitors filed suit.  This particular case deals who’s going to pay. Let’s rewind back to the beginning of the 2010 baseball season.  The Indians had hired National Pastime Sports…

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UPDATE: Players Respond to NFL’s Motion to Dismiss Concussion Litigation

On October 31, 2012, lawyers representing thousands of former NFL players filed an opposition brief to the NFL’s current motion to dismiss pending in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, insisting that based on the gravity of the harm incurred, their lawsuit against the League must be allowed to move forward.  The brief rejected the NFL’s contention that the action was essentially a labor dispute that needed to be resolved under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The Plaintiffs accused the NFL of “orchestrat[ing] a disinformation campaign,”…

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Pageant Mom Reigns Supreme with Settlement in Suit Against Tabloids

On November 6, 2012, the mother of Isabella Barrett (a child who appeared on TLC’s child beauty pageant television show ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’) settled a libel lawsuit filed against TMZ and the Daily Mall, two media outlets who allegedly “sexualized” the child’s performance at a January charity event in several news articles.  The complaint, which originally sought $10 million from each of the defendants, accused the media outlets of portraying Isabelle in a manner that was “perceived sexually, erotically and pornographically by the readership of…

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Tom Cruise’s Defamation Suit Proves it’s Risky Business for Tabloids to Cover Suri

On October 24, 2012, Tom Cruise brought a defamation action against the publisher of Life & Style and In Touch Magazines in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  The suit claims that the defendants published headlines indicating that he had abandoned his daughter Suri after his divorce with Katie Holmes, and seeks $50 million in damages. Some ‘at issue’ images included a picture captioned “Suri in tears, abandoned by her dad,” and featured a tearful photo of the young girl.  In response,…

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Goodell Passes Responsibility for Bountygate Hearings to Tagliabue; NFLPA Calls Foul

In an unprecedented move, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has agreed to recuse himself from overseeing a disciplinary appeal by four suspended New Orleans Saints’ players.  The appeal is seeking to reverse the suspensions Goodell handed down to the four based on their alleged role in the Bountygate Scandal where various Saints’ personnel were accused of promoting a pay-for-play system that encouraged the injuring of opponents.  Goodell has appointed his predecessor and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to adjudicate the hearings in his place. The original…

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Judge Tells Plaintiff to ‘Just Go Away’ in Mötley Crüe Copyright Suit

Recently, U.S. District Judge John F. Grady dismissed a copyright infringement suit brought against the band Mötley Crüe in alleging the band improperly used copyrighted photos of themselves – photos acquired and copyrighted by Plaintiff Ron Toma in 2008 – as backdrops for recent rock concerts.  Toma filed suit against the band in the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Grady’s decision noted that the band had only “sporadic” contacts with Illinois, making the state an inappropriate forum for the action, stating “[t]hese contacts are extensive…

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Clint Eastwood Takes on Another Chair: Settles Lawsuit Against Furniture Manufacturer

Clint Eastwood has reached a settlement in his lawsuit against Evofurniture LLC which accused the furniture manufacturer of impermissibly using Eastwood’s name on various furniture products – such as chairs, ottomans, and entertainment centers – without permission.  Among other things, the action asserted claims of misappropriation of name and persona.  According to a court notice filed on October 15, 2012, the settlement includes the issuance of an injunction barring Evofurniture from naming any furniture products after Eastwood in the future.  Monetary terms of the settlement…

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Lance Armstrong Steps Down from Livestrong, Dropped by Nike

Days before the Livestrong Foundation’s 15th anniversary celebration, its founder, Lance Armstrong, announced this morning that he is stepping down as Chairman.   Nike, Inc. also announced today that it is terminating its contract with Armstrong based on the “seemingly insurmountable evidence” that Armstrong participated in doping.  Nike will continue its support of Livestrong initiatives.  Both announcements follow the release of a report last week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency which included testimony from several former teammates that Armstrong both used and trafficked performance enhancing…

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