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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Tribeca Film Festival Sues Developer for $100 Million in Breach of Contract Lawsuit

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Craig Hatkoff, Jane Rosenthal, and Robert DeNiro. It has generated an estimated $750 million in economic activity for New York City. It has strong ties to the community, a commitment to making cultural programming available to the public, and over four million people have attended its many cultural events. It seems that the Tribeca Film Festival would make a splendid business partner. Somehow, however, one developer is managing to botch the relationship. Pier 57 in the…
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Eighth Circuit Retires Former Player’s Claims Against NFLPA

On September 23, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that rejected NFL retirees’ claims against the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).  The retirees alleged that they were wrongfully excluded from settlement negotiations during the 2011 NFL lockout.  As a result, they claimed they lost out on at least $600 million in benefits. Two lawsuits were filed during the lockout.  One suit was brought by active players against the NFL and the other by retired players against the NFL and its teams.  Since…
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Former Steelers Player Loses Appeal for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania

On August 29, 2013, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled against former Pittsburgh Steelers player Ainsley T. Battles in a claim for workers’ compensation benefits based on a ruling that Battles’ injury did not result in a compensable loss of earnings. The Steelers signed Battles to a one-year contract in 2004-2005, however, his season unfortunately ended during Week One when claimant tore his left hamstring.  The team physician, Dr. James Bradley, performed surgery three days after the injury and Battles underwent a lengthy period of…
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