Beastie Boys Trial Against Monster Energy Drinks Begins

In 2012, the Beastie Boys brought suit against Monster Energy Drink, claiming both copyright infringement and unfair competition resulting from Monster’s use of their songs in an online promotional video.  The Beastie Boys are seeking $2 Million in damages. The controversy stems from a promotional video about a snowboarding competition in Canada called “Ruckus in the Rockies,” which is organized and sponsored by Monster.  After the event, Monster posted a video online of the competition and the after-party, including a mash-up mix performed by DJ…
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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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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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They Just Wanted to do the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle,’ but now Former Bears are Heading to Court, Looking for Trouble…

On January 31, six members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears filed a lawsuit to prevent current license holders Julia Meyer and the Renaissance Marketing Corporation from using the “Super Bowl Shuffle” music video for personal financial gain.  The video, which was created by the team three months prior to the Bears’ victory in Super Bowl XX, was an instant success, earning a gold record, a platinum video award, and even a Grammy nomination. The ex-Chicago bears who brought the suit –Richard Dent,…
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Flyers & NHL Settle Class Action Winter Classic Dispute

A $1.1 million settlement has been reached in a putative class action about the 2012 Winter Classic tickets. Philadelphia Flyers season ticket holders sued Comcast Spectator – the team’s owner – and the NHL after being “forced” to purchase tickets to the Winter Classic separately at a significantly higher price.  If approved, the settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey on December 12, 2013 will end the breach of contract action. On January 2, 2012, the Philadelphia Flyers played in the NHL’s…
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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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Costner Claims Robin Hood Production Company is Robbing From the Rich, Giving to Themselves

On August 8, 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Stone denied, for a second time, actor Kevin Costner’s claim that Morgan Creek Productions Inc. fraudulently denied him profits from the 90’s hit film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  However, Judge Stone granted the actor leave to amend the complaint to re-plead a claim for fraud keeping alive the possibility for a damages award more significant than one based solely on breach of contract. In his decision, Judge Stone found insufficient facts to…
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‘Thriller’ in the Courtroom: Former Jacksons Lawyer Sues Sony

The Jackson family is the topic for discussion in the courtroom these days. The family’s trial against AEG for negligently hiring Dr. Conrad Murray continues. Meanwhile, on Monday, June 17, 2013, former lawyer and manager for “The Jackson Five,” Richard Arons, filed suit in California Superior Court against Sony Music Entertainment (Sony). Arons claims that Sony owes him royalties for recorded music Michael and his brothers made prior to 1983. Among other things, Arons is suing for breach of contract and improper accounting. Arons became…
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California Jury Allows Madden Developer to Play On in Case Against EA

It took less than a week to return a verdict in favor of former Electronics Arts Inc. (EA) videogame developer Robin Antonick. On Friday, June 21, 2013, a California jury ruled that Antonick was not too late to bring a breach of contract claim against EA for royalties that he alleges are owed to him from a 1986 agreement with the video gaming company. Antonick is the original designer and developer of the Madden NFL Football games. A 1986 agreement required EA to pay him…
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