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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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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