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 ...
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Federal Judge Cuts Down Actress’s Claims in Suit Against Amazon, IMDb for Posting Her Age Online

U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman released an order on July 2, 2012 granting a joint motion by IMDb.com Inc. and parent company Amazon.com Inc. to dismiss actress Junie Hoang’s claims that IMDb’s and Amazon’s privacy notices were fraudulent. 40-year old Hoang brought a breach of contract and privacy suit against IMDb and Amazon in October for finding and publishing her true age online. Hoang claimed that after she signed up for an IMDbPro account, her legal date of birth was added to her public acting profile on IMDb.com. The actress originally filed her claim anonymously, however, in November, Judge Pechman ordered Hoang to amend her complaint using her real name, stating that the actress’s fears of embarrassment and ridicule did not rise to the level of severity required to ...
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Cold Hearted Snake: Former American Idol Contestant Files Libel Suit Against MTV and Viacom

Former American Idol contestant Corey Clark filed a libel lawsuit on Thursday, July 6 in the Middle District of Tennessee against MTV Networks Enterprises Inc. and its parent company Viacom International Inc., claiming that he was repeatedly defamed by an MTV news reporter. Clark was a contestant on season two of the popular televised singing competition American Idol.  He was disqualified in 2003 after Idol officials learned that Clark had failed to disclose that he had been arrested in Topeka, Kansas, and that he had pending charges against him. One of these charges included a battery charge involving his sister. According toClark, two of the charges, including the battery charge, were dropped.Clark pled no contest to the charge for resisting arrest. Later, in 2005, Clark publicly announced that he had ...
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Complicated: Rihanna Takes Former Accountants to Court for Mismanagment

R&B singer Rihanna (Robyn Fenty) filed a complaint against her former accountants. Berdon LLP, in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York on Thursday, July 5, alleging that the accountants had intentionally kept her in the dark on her financial situation, resulting in millions of dollars in losses and exorbitant commissions paid. Rihanna hired Berdon in 2005, when she was 16 and just beginning her musical career. She entrusted the firm with providing her accounting, business, and financial management services. Under the arrangement, Berdon earned commissions based on a percentage of the singer’s gross receipts. This untraditional arrangement, according to Rihanna, created a conflict of interest, because Berdon had no incentive to counsel the singer to reduce expenses or implement financial controls. Rihanna learned of the ...
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MGM Sues LaMotta and Production Company to Stop Sequel to Raging Bull

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. (MGM) filed a complaint in California on Tuesday, July 3 aimed at stopping the production on a sequel to the 1980 film Raging Bull. MGM claims that boxing icon Jake LaMotta was contractually obligated to offer MGM the movie rights to the book that is the basis of the new film. The suit is against LaMotta as well as producing company RB Production II LLC (RB II). MGM states that “upon information and belief, RBII is nearing completion of principal photography of a low-budget B-movie based upon the sequel book.” MGM has demanded that RB II cease and desist from the production of Raging Bull II, but RB II has refused to comply. The sequel is directed by Martin Guigui and stars William Forsythe.  The first Raging ...
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Boom – Trademark Infringement Case Against Nike Survives, For Now

On July 3, 2012, Ohio federal Magistrate Judge Nancy A. Vecchiarelli recommended that part of a trademark infringement case against Nike, Inc. survive a motion to dismiss in a trademark infringement suit brough by Edward W. Tovey.  Mr. Tovey claims that Nike infringed on a line of sports clothing he allegedly developed with LeBron James’ girlfriend in 2009.  In a recommendation to the district court, Judge Vecchiarelli stated that, contrary to Nike’s assertions, Tovey’s federal trademark infringement and unfair competition claims (as well as some accompanyingOhiostate law claims) should be allowed to proceed.  Still, the judge did recommend that Tovey’s claims for trademark counterfeiting and contributory/vicarious infringement should be dismissed. Tovey’s suit asserts that he developed his clothing line, which contains the registered “Boom Yo!” trademark, after attending a college ...
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Players Sue NFL Over Bountygate Bans

With the concussion related class action lawsuit consolidated and ongoing, the NFL was called back into Federal court in Louisiana this week on an unrelated matter.  On July 5, 2012, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) sued the NFL over the suspension of several players for their alleged participation a bounty program, a scheme funded by players and coaches that offered monetary rewards for players who injured opponents.  Three players from the New Orleans Saints – Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith – were suspended without pay by league commissioner Roger Goodell for participation in the scheme during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 NFL seasons.   In its complaint, the NFLPA asserts that the players were entitled to a “transparent, credible and fair” arbitration process under certain provisions of the collective ...
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Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Home Entertainment Sue Horse-Racing Announcer’s Estate Seeking Declaratory Judgment on Right of Privacy/Copyright Claims Over Secretariat

Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Home Entertainment filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Friday, June 29, requesting declaratory judgment against family members of the late horse-racing announcer Charles Anderson. The companies are seeking to pro-actively guard against the estate’s right of publicity and copyright claims related to the 2010 film Secretariat. According to the complaint, Anderson’s widow, daughters, and sons have spent the past two years asserting multiple bases of liability for what they claim was an unauthorized use of Anderson’s voice in both the motion picture and the additional bonus materials. Anderson’s family members contend that Secretariat included depictions of races originally called by Anderson, and that the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the movie include video ...
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Olympic Competitors Facing Hi-Tech Drug Tests and Sedative Bans

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 8 years, because samples can be re-analyzed. World Anti-Doping Agency Director General David Howman has stated: “The laboratory will have everything it could ...
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Concussion Study Suggests Dangers Associated with Certain High School Sports

The American Journal of Sports Medicine recently published a new study on the epidemiology of concussions amongst high school athletes by comparing the rates and patterns of concussions across 20 sports.[1]  After analyzing athlete exposures and injury data collected from a large, nationally disperse selection of U.S. high schools (between 2008 and 2010), the study found that the majority of concussions suffered (47 percent) resulted from participation in football.  The next highest percentage of recorded concussions resulted from girls’ soccer (8.2 percent), followed by boys’ wrestling (5.8 percent), and girls basketball (5.5 percent).  Of all the sports studied, concussions accounted for the highest percentage of total injuries incurred (22.2 percent ) in boys’ ice hockey.  Interestingly, the study also found that concussive injuries were 6.4 times more likely to occur ...
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