Author Archives: Matthew V. Bruno

Author Looks to Thaw Adverse Copyright Ruling Related to Disney’s Frozen

Muneefa Abdullah, a Kuwaiti children’s author, has appealed a District Court’s recent decision denying the author’s copyright suit against Disney, claiming that the District Court judge failed to see the substantial similarities between her 2007 story “The Snow Princess” and Disney’s megahit Frozen. Abdullah sued the entertainment company in 2015 for copyright infringement, alleging that Walt Disney Studios motion pictures and Frozen screenwriter Jennifer Lee stole plot points, characters, and themes from her story. Last month, Judge Wilson of the Central District of California,…

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NHL Seeks To Have Wrongful Death Claims Checked

On November 4, 2016, the NHL sought to have Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois reconsider the court’s previous decision to allow relatives of deceased hockey player Derek Boogaard to file wrongful death claims against the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL argued the claims fell under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and should be preempted. Judge Feinerman had previously agreed with the player’s family, which alleged the NHL promoted violence and implied head trauma was not dangerous and did not…

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Another Headache for the NFL and Riddell

On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, helmet maker Riddell Inc. and the NFL were sued by more than 50 former football players and families of deceased players in a new lawsuit in Louisiana Federal Court. The proposed class action alleges that the NFL made “material representations” that several brain conditions such as early-onset dementia, memory loss, and ALS, were not caused by the players’ time in the NFL and the NFL failed to protect its players. The suit further alleges that the NFL was aware of…

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Screenwriter Alleges the Matt Damon Sci-Fi Hit Elysium Was His Idea

One of this summer’s worldwide hits was the Matt Damon-starring science fiction film Elysium. But several months after its release, director Neill Blomkamp’s movie, which tells the story of a poor man who attempts to save his life by making an illegal trip to a satellite planet surrounding a ruined Earth, has found itself at the center of controversy. Blomkamp was recently sued by little-known screenwriter Steve Wilson Briggs for copyright infringement claiming similarities between Elysium and his screenplay Butterfly Diver. The suit,…

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Costner Claims Robin Hood Production Company is Robbing From the Rich, Giving to Themselves

On August 8, 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Stone denied, for a second time, actor Kevin Costner’s claim that Morgan Creek Productions Inc. fraudulently denied him profits from the 90’s hit film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  However, Judge Stone granted the actor leave to amend the complaint to re-plead a claim for fraud keeping alive the possibility for a damages award more significant than one based solely on breach of contract. In his decision, Judge Stone found insufficient facts to…

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Producers of “Dumb” Sequel Ask Court to Freeze Out Original Production Team

Red Granite Pictures Inc., the production behind the long awaited comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To, has asked a California Court for a declaratory judgment seeking to preclude the producers of the first 1994 film from getting any fees or credits on the new film.  The complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 15th alleges that the producers of the original movie, Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler, are not entitled to producer fees or production credit.  Mr. Krevoy and Mr.…

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Touchdown Jets! Federal Judge Rules New York Football Team Can Use “Ultimate Fan” Phrase

New York Jets LLC recently scored a touchdown when a Louisiana Federal Court ruled that a sports marketing company no longer owned the trademark to “Ultimate Fan.” On May 30th, United States District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana granted the Jets’ motion for summary judgment against Action Ink Inc. holding that the ‘Ultimate Fan’ trademark was abandoned and Action Ink had no enforceable trademark rights to the phrase. Action Ink sued the Jets in 2012 claiming that it…

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A Lady Never Tells Her Age, But IMDb Does: Actress Loses Suit Against “Bible of the Industry”

Huong Hoang, a/k/a, Junie Hoang, star of Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver, recently lost her suit against the Internet Movie Database when a Washington State Federal Jury rejected her claim that the database provider breached Hoang’s subscriber agreement. The B-movie actress sued IMBd.com after it published her true date of birth over her objection.  Originally suing as ‘Jane Doe’ in 2011 claiming breach of contract, fraud, and violations of Washington’s privacy and consumer protection laws, Hoang had to re-file using her true name…

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The Islamic Republic of Iran takes on Producers of ‘Argo’

Iran is considering suing the producers of Argo claiming that the Oscar winning best picture provided an unrealistic portrayal of the country during the seizure of the United States Embassy in 1979.  The decision to potentially litigate resulted from a recent screening of the film by Iranian cultural officials and movie critics in Tehran as part of an event entitled “The Hoax of Hollywood”.  The Iranian government alleges that the film is an attack on Iranian culture and international cultural norms. The film depicts the…

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In the Hot Seat: Exposure to Armstrong Increases Substantially in Light of Recent Admissions

Seven time Tour de France ‘winner’ Lance Armstrong likely faces increased and significant financial exposure as a result of his recent televised admissions regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs during nearly all of his cycling competitions.  Indeed, Armstrong could stand to lose a significant chunk of his estimated $125 million fortune as a result of the two part interview with Oprah Winfrey as a result of civil actions seeking financial damages based on claims for defamation, malicious prosecution, and fraud.  Moreover, he will almost…

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