Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

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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Court Rules ‘Bachelor’/’Bachelorette” Casting Directors Free to Give Roses to Applicants of Their Choosing

A Tennessee federal judge dismissed a race bias class action against ABC Inc. and the producer of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” determining that the show’s casting decisions are “part and parcel of the creative process behind a television program” and therefore protected by the First Amendment. Individuals Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed the suit in April, alleging that ABC intentionally excluded minorities from the hit reality series, thereby perpetuating “outdated racial taboos.” Although “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” have aired for a combined total of…

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USADA Finds Armstrong’s Doping a Team Effort

On October 10, 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report laying out the reasons behind its August decision to ban Lance Armstrong from competitive cycling, as well as strip him of his racing titles (which include seven Tour-de-France victories).  The allegations, which include testimony taken from over a dozen witnesses (including several former teammates), state that Armstrong had both used and trafficked the drugs EPO and testosterone. At one point, the report accused Armstrong of perpetuating a “doping culture” on his racing team, painting…

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No Doubt Settles ‘Band Hero’ Lawsuit over Avatars with Activision

On October 3, 2012, popular musicians No Doubt settle their ongoing lawsuit against Activision Publishing, Inc. over the use of the group’s ‘avatars’ in the ‘Band Hero’ video game. No Doubt had filed suit for breach of contract and right to publicity claims when it was discovered that players could use the No Doubt avatars to perform songs in the game by other musicians. No Doubt alleged that they had been “turned into a virtual karaoke act” by the game, and asserted that the game…

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