Weinsteins’ Suit Against ‘Scream’ Writer Williamson is about the Contract, not the Copyrights

On August 23, 2012, California Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy refused to dismiss a suit brought by The Weintstein Co., LLC against ‘Scream’ writer Kevin Williamson.  In essence, the ruling resolved a dispute over whether the action was preempted by the Copyright Act, or was, in fact, a simple contract dispute.  Judge Murphy held that the case could proceed as it is based in contract and The Weinstein Co.had not alleged any copyright infringement or any other acts forbidden by federal law. In its complaint, The Weinstein Co.alleges that Williamson signed over the rights to a film project called “The Shadows” during a settlement agreement the two parties signed back in 2010 to end a production dispute on ‘Scream 4’ (a dispute which resulted in Williamson being relieved from ...
Continue Reading...


Armstrong Abandons Fight Against Doping Allegations, Cedes Titles

Late on August 23, renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong announced that he would no longer be continuing his fight against charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which included allegations that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs and underwent illegal blood transfusions throughout the course of his career.  As a result of declining to challenge these accusations in arbitration, Armstrong will be stripped of his numerous Tour de France titles, and will be banned most elite-level sporting competitions. Armstrong’s concession comes despite his numerous protests against the USADA’s arbitration process, which he has publicly denounced as an unfairly biased “witch hunt.”  He pointed to the nearly 300 drug tests he took throughout course of his career – all negative – as evidence of his innocence, noting “What is the point of all ...
Continue Reading...

Texas Woman puts the Cowboys on the Hot Seat in Suit over Bench Burns

Jennelle Carrillo of Cleburne,Texas has filed a lawsuit against the Dallas Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones after allegedly suffering third-degree burns from sitting on a black marble bench outside Cowboys Stadium while waiting to watch a scrimmage.  The complaint, filed in Tarrant County,Texas, states that Carrillo required hospitalization and skin grafts on her buttocks after spending an unspecified amount of time on the bench in the Texas heat.  Meteorologist Steve Fano of the National Weather Service in Forth Worth noted that the temperature on Aug. 10, 2010 (the day of the alleged injury) was 101 degrees.  Carrillo insists that the stadium should have warned people about the dangers of the proverbial hot-seat: “[n]o signs were posted at or near the bench warning that it was too hot to sit ...
Continue Reading...

Update: Lance Armstrong Suit Against Anti-Doping Agency Tossed a Second Time

On August 20, 2012, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of the Western District of Texas threw out a suit brought by renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (“USADA”), who claims that the USADA’s arbitration procedures would deny him due process of law.  The allegations brought by the USADA against Armstrong include accusations of performance enhancing drug use in violation of anti-doping rules, charges which could strip him of his seven Tour-de-France titles.  A nearly identical suit brought by Armstrong was dismissed without prejudice in July, with the court allowing Armstrong to re-plead the case in an amended complaint.     However, in dismissing the case, Judge Sparks held that the court did not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the proceedings, pointing to an arbitration agreement signed by Armstrong ...
Continue Reading...

Ninth Circuit Refuses to Rescue “Die Hard” Director

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the request of John McTiernan, director of “Die Hard” and “Predator”  to reverse his guilty plea of making false statements to the FBI. In 2010, McTiernan pled guilty to lying to federal investigators about an illegal wiretapping operation carried out by private investigator Anthony Pellicano. Federal investigators questioned McTiernan in 2006 to ask whether he had any knowledge of Pellicano’s wiretapping. The director denied knowledge. However, the FBI had obtained a phone recording between McTiernan and Pellicano which indicated that McTiernan was aware of the wiretapping operation. McTiernan pled guilty to lying to the FBI in 2006, then later won a Ninth Circuit remand of his plea in order to determine if the recording evidence was usable in court. In 2007, a ...
Continue Reading...

ChampionsWorld Shut Out in Antitrust Suit Against US Soccer

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and Major League Soccer (MLS) recently prevailed in an antitrust suit brought by former soccer promoter ChampionsWorld LLC in Illinois federal court. ChampionsWorld had claimed that USSF perpetuated the idea that it was in charge of all professional soccer in the U.S. (including games played by foreign teams) in order to restrain competition against MLS, thereby driving ChampionsWorld out of business. The federal judge ruled for the US soccer bodies by granting USSF’s petition to confirm an arbitration award which gives MLS and USSF the power to sanction and levy fees forUSgames involving teams affiliated with Federation International de Football Association (FIFA). ChampionsWorld representative Carmelo Stillitano argued that the arbitration award should be denied because ChampionsWorld was unable to present its case in arbitration ...
Continue Reading...

Former Oriole Murrary Enters Into Settlement with SEC

Former Baltimore Orioles player and MLB Hall of Famer Eddie Murray has agreed to pay over $358,000 to settle insider trading allegations brought against him by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The SEC accuses Murray of making more than $235,000 in a trading scheme involving another former Oriole, Doug DeCinces and James V. Mazzo, the former CEO of Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (“AMO”).  The SEC’s complaint asserted that multiple tipoffs from Mazzo to DeCinces – and eventually, from DeCinces to Murray and others – lead to over $2.5 million in profits for those who acted on the inside information.  Previously, Mazzo and DeCinces lived in the sameLaguna Beachgated community, and were close friends.  The SEC’s case is built in part on Mazzo’s access to the privileged information and DeCinces ...
Continue Reading...

London 2012 Olympics will Feature Most Sophisticated Anti-Doping Testing in History

Olympic competitors who plan to run the risk of taking performance-enhancing substances before or during the London Summer Olympics are facing “the most sophisticated anti-doping operation in the history of the Games.”  A private sponsor will be aiding in the drug testing this year—a first in Olympics history—by providing facilities for scientists to conduct the testing. More than 6,250 samples of blood and urine will be tested (as compared to 4,500 samples tested inBeijing), with approximately 150 scientists running tests around the clock. The list of banned substances runs to 10-15 pages.  Even if the athletes are not caught now, they could be caught in the next eight years as samples can be re-analyzed.  World Anti-Doping Agency Director General David Howman has stated: “The laboratory will have everything it could possibly need ...
Continue Reading...

False Start for Lance Armstrong as Suit Against USADA is Dismissed

On July 9, 2012, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed without prejudice an attempt by professional cyclist Lance Armstrong to block the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) from investigating charges of blood “doping” that could take away his seven Tour de France victories.  Armstrong’s suit asserted that the USADA did not have the jurisdiction to bring charges against him, that the agency’s international arbitration process was a sham, and that the result of the arbitration was preordained against him. The USADA acts as the regulator to prevent doping activities in athletes who compete in Olympic sports.  It can bring charges against athletes, suspend them, impose sanctions, or even ban them from competitions.  It claims it has witnesses and blood samples to support the allegations against Armstrong. Armstrong has repeatedly maintained his innocence, ...
Continue Reading...

Stan “The Man” Lee Victorious Once Again

On July 9, 2012, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson for the Central District of California dismissed a suit brought against Stan Lee and his production companies, which sought various ownership rights and profits stemming from the use of iconic characters such as Spiderman and the X-Men.  Marvel Entertainment, Inc. currently owns the rights. Counsel for Lee claims that the suit was barred under the legal doctrine of res judicata – similar claims had been filed and dismissed in New York federal court back in April of 2010.  Counsel for the plaintiffs countered, arguing that they had not had an ample opportunity to present their claims in New York.  While Judge Wilson did not explain his decision, a written order is forthcoming.  The dispute over the rights to Lee’s comic book ...
Continue Reading...