If Kevin Ward, Jr. Signed a Release, Would His Estate be Barred From Suing Tony Stewart, the Raceway, and Others?

Sprint car driver Kevin Ward, Jr. died recently during a sprint car race at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua, NY. He was struck and killed by a car driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.  If Ward’s estate were to file a civil suit, the defendants would likely include Stewart, the raceway owner/operator, and Empire Super Sprints Inc., which is the sprint car series that sanctioned the race. One potential legal issue would be the extent to which a release/waiver of liability could be…
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NY Islanders Sale Put on Ice, Would-Be Buyer Seeks $10 Million in Damages

On Monday, August 11, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang was served with a lawsuit demanding $10 million in damages for allegedly backing out of a deal to sell the team. Philadelphia based hedge-fund manager Andrew Barroway’s company NY ICE claims that on March 10, Wang and Barroway reached a sale agreement, culminating in a handshake.  NY ICE was to receive 100% equity in the Islanders in exchange for $420 million.  The papers filed in New York County Supreme Court state that the negotiations began…
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Miss America Organization Sued for Being Stingy

Wednesday, July 2, The Buckeye Group, a business development company based in Beverly Hills, filed a complaint against The Miss America Organization in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleging breach of contract. In the complaint, Buckeye alleges that Miss America has failed to make good on contractually owed minimum payments to the business stimulation team.  Since 2009, Buckeye has been helping The Miss America Organization restore its financial health and reclaim its cultural significance within the fabric of American society. …
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Armstrong Can’t Escape DOJ Fraud Suit

On Thursday June 19, 2014, Judge Robert Wilkins of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled on Lance Armstrong’s motion to dismiss the fraud case he is facing against the US Department of Justice. In an 81 page ruling, Judge Wilkins denied Armstrong’s request without prejudice. Armstrong argued that the case should be dismissed on two grounds. First, he argued the six-year statute of limitations on bringing the suit had run. He also argued the government knew he was using…
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James Franco’s Management Team Suing Former Members for Embezzlement

On April 18, 2014, the management firm of Hollywood actor James Franco sued his recently fired talent manager Miles Levy and financial manager Steve Blatt in California state court, alleging that both conspired to fraudulently bilk the actor out of millions of dollars.  The suit, filed by Randy James of James Levy Management, accused the defendants of “embezzl[ing] significant sums in commissions [ ] for nearly a decade . . . .  The thieves have been caught and the day of reckoning has arrived.”  Among…
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The Battle Over ‘Margaret’ Ends

On Wednesday, April 2, a six-year legal battle over Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret, released in 2011 ended. The parties to the suit, Lonergan and the film’s financier, Gary Gilbert, came to a settlement agreement that was recently  executed. In 2005, Gilbert and Fox Searchlight (Fox) agreed to split about $12.6 million in production costs for the film Margaret. In 2007, Gilbert became unhappy with the result of the film’s final cut and according to Lonergan, attempted to seize control of the film despite not…
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Federal Judge Rules on Pandora/ASCAP Dispute Over Streaming Revenue

Internet radio company Pandora Media has been engaged in litigation with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”) over how much Pandora should be required to pay the society in exchange for Pandora’s right to stream copyrighted music online.  A recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote declared that Pandora would be required to continue paying a rate of 1.85% of its revenue to the ASCAP through 2015 – the same rate Pandora has been paying for years. ASCAP viewed Judge Cote’s…
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Ex-Manager of Friends Star Gets $1.6 million Jury Award

On February 25, Scott Howard, the former manager of Friends star Lisa Kudrow, received a $1.6 million jury award in his breach of contract case against the actress.  Howard sued Kudrow in 2008 for continuing residual monies he believed he was owed for negotiating work for Kudrow prior to his firing in 2007. Though there was no written contract between the two parties, Howard alleged that he and Kudrow had operated under an oral agreement, which is standard practice for agents in the entertainment industry.…
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Mötley Crüe Signs Agreement to Stay “Home Sweet Home” After Final Tour

On January 28, 2014, rock and rollers Mötley Crüe announced that they would permanently dissolve the group after a final tour, going so far as to sign an agreement which will force the band into permanent retirement.  Now however, band members have commented that the so-called “cessation of touring agreement” is simply that.  In other words, the contract wouldn’t split the group up – it would simply prevent them from ever going on tour again.  The agreement would also restrict the band’s ability to perform…
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Does a Kansas Sperm Donor Owe Child Support? Court Rules That He Does

A Kansas sperm donor says his parental rights and obligations ended after his donation. However, in a case that has drawn national headlines, the court says otherwise. In 2009, William Marotta found an advertisement on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor. Marotta met with the lesbian couple that posted the ad, signed a contract waiving his parental rights, and donated his sperm to the couple, receiving $50. The couple split up one year later, and after one of the women stopped working due to an illness,…
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