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, filed in the Northern District of California, alleges that the film infringes on Butterfly Diver’s plot, characters, unusual settings, themes, conflict, and climax-twist. It further alleges that Blomkamp had access to the story and attempted to disguise the infringement. According to the suit, Briggs finished the first ...
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Concussion Controversy: Is the NHL Next?

As previously reported by the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider, the NFL’s recent settlement of the concussion class action brought by former pro players, the pending suits by former college football players against the NCAA and helmet manufacturer Riddell, and the wrongful death action by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, among others, all beg the question: When — not if — will hockey see a rash of concussion-related litigation? Both the NHL and the NFL have seen numerous careers cut short by concussions over the last two decades. Like football, hockey is an inherently dangerous sport, one in which violent collisions are commonplace. In addition to the risk of concussions during the course of play, hockey ...
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NY Judge Says Dr. Oz’s Viewers Are Not His Patients

A New York State court judge declined to view Dr. Mehmet Oz’s audience as patients.  As a result, the judge dismissed one viewer’s claim against Dr. Oz for providing negligent medical advice on his TV show. In March 2013, Frank Dietl filed suit against Dr. Oz claiming he suffered second and third-degree burns on his feet by following the doctor’s advice.  After viewing an episode on insomnia, Dietl tried the suggested remedy to cure sleeplessness caused by cold feet. Dr. Oz recommended putting uncooked rice in a pair of socks, microwaving the sock/rice combo, and then wearing them to bed.  The doctor said that the “heated rice footsie” helped cure his own insomnia. Dietl sued Dr. Oz, NBC, Sony Pictures Televsion and Harpo Productions for his injuries.  Dietl has diminished ...
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Announcer Phrase in EA’s Madden Game Gets Student in Trouble

A 15-year-old middle school student landed in hot water for saying a phrase he learned from Electronic Arts’ (EA) Madden 12 game.  The student, while announcing a football game, described a 7th grade player of Haitian descent by saying, “He’s got that getting away from the cops speed.” The phrase was originally made on television by announcer Gus Johnson to describe a touchdown by Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson.  Later, the phrase was included in EA’s football game as one of phrases the electronic version of announcer makes. Many have stated the phrase is racist, especially because they say Johnson only used it when describing black players.  Johnson, who is black himself, previously stated, “[i]f there is a perception of racism in this analogy, it is not coming from ...
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A-Rod Sues Yankees Doc For Malpractice

In the midst of his appeal of a 211-game suspension arising from the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, Alex Rodriguez just filed the anticipated malpractice suit against a Yankees’ team physician. Professional Liability Matters posted of the rumblings of a malpractice suit in August.  Now, the other shoe dropped. Although the allegations are serious, many speculate that A-Rod’s real goal of this lawsuit is to distract from A-Rod’s steroid controversy and to deflect blame. To read the rest of this article, please visit Professional Liability Matters. The article was authored by Lila McKinley and Elizabeth Cristofaro  of Goldberg Segalla’s Professional Liability Practice Group.
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Reversal of Penn State Penalties May Lead to End of Miami Investigation

That the NCAA investigation of the University of Miami has dragged on beyond any reasonable timeframe is beyond dispute.  Students who entered the school as freshmen when the investigation began are seniors now, with no formal findings having been issued by the NCAA.  The Penn State investigation took less time.  The investigation and trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg took less time.  And yet, there is no sign that the NCAA will be making formal findings anytime soon. However, the Palm Beach Post’s Greg Stoda theorizes that the NCAA’s backtracking on the penalties to Penn State’s football program may be a clue that the worst may be behind the Hurricanes.  The NCAA admitted that it overreached with the PennState sanctions, and ended up restoring scholarships.  In the case of the ...
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Closing the California Workers’ Compensation Loophole: AB 1309 Awaits Governor’s Signature

In a previous article (“Stemming the California Workers’ Compensation ‘Gold Rush’: AB 1309”) we previously covered the California’s legislature’s attempt to crack down on “cumulative trauma” type injuries being filed by former sports players who have spent the majority of their careers playing for non-California based teams or who have played a handful of games in California for other teams.  Supporters of the bill have maintained that it will curtail attempts by athletes with little or no connection to the state of California to file costly claims, while critics assert that the bill will unfairly take away an injured player’s right to bring a claim, that players pay California state taxes away games, and the bill may have wider-ranging impacts on claims not involving professional athletes. As of September 9, 2013, ...
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NCAA and Riddell Hit Head On With Concussion Case

Two former college football players “hit” the NCAA with another concussion case.  This comes just one week after it agreed to mediate concussion claims in another pending case.  All told, the NCAA now has three potential class action suits pending against it regarding concussion claims. Former Washington and Oregon quarterback, John DuRocher, and former Washington safety, Darin Harris, filed the suit in an Indiana federal court.  They are seeking over $5 million in damages for the repeated head injuries they sustained while playing.  According to them, these injuries occurred despite reassurances that they were playing in a protected environment.  The injuries have resulted in post-college, ongoing medical treatment that has been, and will continue to be, required. The suit also names helmet manufacturer Riddell and its parent company.  Riddell is ...
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FX facing mark’s F-X-Xtinction?

The name seemed silly from the moment those commercials started to run. You know them — the ones with the cast members of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia speaking to each other in what sounds, to the naked ear, like Swedish. The ad spots changed as the summer season rolled out on FX, but the punchline of each promo was always the same, with one cast member saying the name of the channel that the great comedy show was moving to. Repeat after Danny DeVito: “F-X-X.” These commercials were followed by the new channel’s logo, imploring fans of It’s Always Sunny … or The League to follow their favorite, upstart shows over to the new, upstart network. But with the network’s September launch, Twentieth Century Fox, owner of FX and ...
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Disney Suing Musical Company for Infringement

Last week, entertainment giant Disney file suit against a Pennsylvania based Entertainment Theatre Group, doing business as American Music Theatre (AMT).  In its complaint, Disney alleges that AMT’s production, Broadway: Now and Forever, infringes its rights and is seeking damages. AMT is staging Broadway: Now and Forever, a show that billed as a “larger-than-life theatrical compilation of unforgettable music from the hottest new blockbusters to all-time favorite classics.” “Broadway: Now and Forever recreates the greatest moments ever on stage.” The show includes references to Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and Spider-Man.  According to Disney, recreating these scenes and characters infringes on its copyrights and trademarks.  Images of the production can be seen in the complaint, here. Disney is also making an unfair trade practices claim. This claim is related to ...
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