All Articles Tagged "lawsuit"
Update: Just yesterday, we marveled at the tongue-lashing Judge Reuben Green gave to a juror who was dishonest about his immigration status. The juror was held in contempt and blamed for costing the courts both time and money.
Today a new jury has ordered Da Brat to pay a former Atlanta Falcons cheerleader Shayla Stevens $3.7 million for the “permanent facial scarring, neurological impairment, and severe mental pain” she caused when she hit her with a bottle during a fight in 2007. This after the rapper served more than three years in prison.
Original from February 26
When you’re in a court of law, your life really is in the hands of the judge, even if you’re a juror.
Da Brat, née Shawntae Harris, is heading to civil court, accused of breaking a rum bottle over the head of an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader’s head during a fight at a Halloween party in 2007. Jury selection had taken place and then, at the last minute, a man who had been selected admitted that he lied about his immigration status. Though he was asked multiple times about whether he was a citizen, it was only when the case was about to get underway that he admitted that he’s not. He’s a legal resident of Atlanta, so it seems weird that he wouldn’t tell the truth. And he should’ve assumed that, eventually, this is something that would’ve come out.
Judge Reuben Green was not happy about this surprise revelation and used his authority to not only go all the way off on this juror but to hold him in contempt. According to Judge Green, the lie cost more than 10 hours of time and $25,000 in expenditure. Now, a mistrial has been declared and the whole process has to begin again. For the trouble he caused, the juror was hauled off in handcuffs. Dang! TMZ has the footage and it is one heck of a takedown.
How many times have you been in your office, spent a good chunk of time and effort to get some work done, and then watch as all that work goes down the drain because of one idiotic person? It’s at those times that you wish you had a robe and a gavel so you can find someone in contempt. Just in contempt of life.
The latest King family battle seems to have been settled – for now. Martin Luther King Jr.’s children have been embroiled in a legal battle over the late civil right leader’s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.
A judge has ruled that the prized possessions should be placed in a safe deposit box controlled by the court until the legal dispute over who owns the items is resolved, reports The Grio.
As we recently reported, King’s estate, which is controlled by his two sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, is suing King’s daughter, Bernice for the two items. The sons are considering selling them.
“After about two and half hours of arguments from lawyers for both sides, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said he believes it is likely that the estate will prevail in the case,” reports The Grio. The judge ordered that both items be kept in a safe deposit box in the name of the estate but the court will have the keys.
According to William Hill, a lawyer for the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., the Bible and Peace Prize award belong to the estate because Bernice signed an agreement in 1995 handing over her rights to many items she inherited from Dr. King. But Bernice is fighting to keep the Bible and Nobel Prize because she said her father would not want them sold.
In late January the board of the estate, to which all three surviving King children are members, held a special board voted on a proposed sale of the Bible and peace prize. It was 2-1 in favor of the sale, with Bernice dissenting.
Nicki Minaj seems to be a magnet for negative press these days. First there was the uproar over her use of Malcolm X’s photo for the artwork for her new single. Now she’s being sued by a hair stylist.
Terrence Davidson claims the former American Idol judge stole his wig designs and also cost him a possible reality show deal. And he says Minaj should pay–$30 million!
Remember when Minaj abruptly fired her hair stylist in 2013 and debuted a new look? Well, Davidson claims there was more behind the move than an image makeover.
Davidson, who filed the suit in Atlanta, worked for Minaj as her hair stylist from 2010 to 2013. He says it was his wigs that help her become a fashion trendsetter; the new Young Money Entertainment rapper become known as much for her outlandish wigs as for her rhymes. Davidson and his attorney, Christopher Chestnut, told CNN that Minaj is now selling wigs on her website based on Davidson’s designs.
“I see these wigs online,” said Davidson, who has also worked Patti LaBelle and rapper Remy Ma. “People are basically duplicating what I created for Nicki Minaj.”
Davidson’s attorney says the stylist is due.”Nicki Minaj is reaping great success and financial bounty reward for Terrence’s creative expertise, and he is entitled to participate in that,” Chestnut said. “Someone’s got to stand up for the artist. We applaud the fact that she’s making millions, but she’s also got to pay bounty to those whose creative designs she’s making millions off of.”
According to the complaint, Davidson says he make several wigs for Minaj, including the “Pink Upper Bun Wig,” the “Fox Fur Wig,” and the “Half Blonde-Half Pink Wig” that she wore for appearances such as the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards preshow. He also says that he was in talks with Minaj about launching a wig line together as well as entering into a reality show venture.
By 2012, the suit claims Davidson was shut out by Minaj and her management.
“On its face you might think, what this guy is suing over wigs,” Davidson’s attorney Chestnut said. “But we really have to consider this in context. Hair is a multibillion-dollar industry, but moreover these are not your grandma’s wigs. These are eclectic. They are decadent, and they are creative. This is about a brand that Terrence has built.”
We know many are upset over the NSA spying program but possible Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul is taking the issue to court. He’s suing the Obama administration over the NSA’s culling of millions of Americans’ phone records.
Paul joined conservative activist group FreedomWorks in the suit on behalf of “everyone in America that has a phone.”
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, the agency’s massive collection program violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. It wants the program, which has been in existence since 2006, to end. The program began during President George W. Bush’s administration.
“We believe that this lawsuit could conceivably represent hundreds of millions of people who have phone lines in this country or cellphones,” Paul said following the complaint filing.
The bulk collection program, which is authorized in Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, sweeps up what’s known as metadata for every phone call made in the U.S. It collects the number called, the number from which the call is made, and the duration and time of the call. The intelligence community says having this data is key to preventing terrorism. While there is little evidence the program has been integral in preventing an attack, the Obama administration argues that being able to rule out a U.S. connection is important because it provides “peace of mind.”
The Obama administration, of course, says the NSA program is legal. Still, President Barack Obama has “called for reforms to the program in an effort to regain public trust,” reports the AP (via The Grio).
Republicans are split on the NSA spying issue. The Republican National Committee, however, recently approved a resolution to end the surveillance programs.
On the news of Michael Jackson’s death, many hearts shattered around the world. But for a few fans, the emotional toll on their health was literal.
Five members of a French-based Michael Jackson fan club claimed that Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s former doctor, left them traumatized by administering a lethal dosage of sedatives to the King of Pop. The court, located in the south of Paris, ruled in the claimants’ favor and demanded that Murray compensate each fan for their “emotional damages,” The Daily Mail reports.
“They have been subjected to ridicule and I am delighted their suffering has been taken seriously by the law,” said Emmanuel Ludot, the fans’ lawyer.
If you’re wondering how much the quintet was awarded, the MJ fan club didn’t exactly hit the jackpot. The judge ruled that Murray give each fan one euro — that’s only $1.36 in US dollars. However, this does not seem to faze the distraught fans — they were only looking for symbolic damages. According to Ludot, the claimants will not be seeking to claim the euro from Murray.
The purpose behind the five fans’ legal action, according to BBC, is to be granted permission to visit Michael Jackson’s Los Angeles grave which is currently closed the public.
“The fans now plan to contact Jackson’s mother Katherine to request permission to visit his final resting place in Glendale, California,” said Ludot, according to Reuters.
Ludot points to witness accounts and medical records for the victorious outcome of the lawsuit. “As far as I know this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised,” he said, according to BBC.
Due to the odd nature of the lawsuit, Ludot explained that the court proceedings were difficult because judges, lawyers, and the French media didn’t take the case seriously. “I respected the suffering of the plaintiffs, but the process wasn’t easy because of all the sniggering,” he added.
In 2011, Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Michael Jackson’s 2009 death. He was released two years earlier from his four-year prison sentence last October.
We’re sure rapper Rick Ross is breathing a sigh of relief. He has made a settlement deal on a $2 million lawsuit filed against him over a canceled concert, reports RadarOnline.
British company Zons P.R. sued the Ross in 2012, claiming they paid Ross $87,500 to promote and perform at the Star Mega Jam in 2011. Star Mega Jam is an annual Nigerian concert with attendance of about 50,000 fans.
Not only did Ross cancel, but Zons says he didn’t do any of the promised promos. Ross said he canceled due to a matter of security, citing “the violent events in Nigeria.”
So of course Zons wanted its money back. He sued and sought more than $2 million in damages.
There’s no word on the settlement amount, but whatever it is surely Ross can afford it. He is worth $25 million, according to Prefix Magazine.
Ross is in a middle of his own lawsuit. He and producer Jermaine “Mayne Zayne” Jackson of The Runners are suing LMFAO, reports Hip Hop DX. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ross and Jackson are suing LMFAO for copyright infringement over the 2010 song, “Party Rock Anthem.”
Ross claims “Party Rock Anthem” uses his single “Hustlin’” without giving him his proper due.
There is so much that can be said about this Prince lawsuit and we could literally talk about it all day. On the one hand, everyone knows how much Prince hates when people post his videos or songs without paying him or whatever he wants for it at the time. On the other hand, he’s been out for so long that the only way some people are even familiar with him is because of the internet and the uploads.
But we’ll get back to that.
Prince is suing 22 members of Facebook and Googele’s Blogger for copyright violations and wants to see each of them pay $1 million. Here’s the scoop from Spin.com:
“According to the 21-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco (via Antiquiet), the defendants “engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.” The lawsuit targets Dan Chodera, Karina Jindrova, and 20 anonymous defendants. Chodera and Jindrova allegedly operated a no-longer-online Facebook account that posted a bunch of bootleg Prince videos. The other defendants — “Does” 1 through 20 — are accused of similar infractions, such as pointing to a 1983 Chicago set from WorldofBootleg.blogspot.com. Hey, we’d like to hear that one.
Prince asks for a jury trial, which, though highly unlikely, would have to make for some fascinating courtroom drama. In addition to the $22 million total in damages, Prince wants the defendants permanently blocked from infringing on his copyrights. He also wants them to forfeit any money they may have made from his music — with interest — and to return any “unlawful materials” to their rightful Purple custody.”
Prince is not a stupid man and surely he knows that the chances of any of these people having $1 million to fork over is slim to none, so we’re thinking this is more of a symbolic lawsuit more than anything. He really does not want anyone posting anything having to do with his music that he cannot control…or at least get paid for in the process.
There’s got to be a better fix for this situation. Prince and his team are probably prepared to sue everyone they can find illegally posting his music but maybe a better solution is that he hire a videographer and post them himself to a website that he charges a fee (I know, I know) to become a member. That probably won’t stop it in full but that’s a better way to monitor everything.
What do you think about this lawsuit? Is Prince alienating an entire generation of would be fans by trying so hard to shut people down who post his music?
Welcome to our brand new column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, Reset is about life lessons learned and finally mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically. We’ll be taking a closer look at the real challenges faced throughout the journey of life, no matter how successful a person is.
Meet Coach Beverly Kearney. Inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross County Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007, during her tenure at the University of Texas (Austin) her team won six NCAA championships and she counts nine Olympic medals among her team members, including gold medalist Sanya Richards Ross and Deon Hemmings. In 2002, a car accident nearly killed her and took the lives of two other passengers. Kearney suffered severe spinal cord injury and head trauma, which left her paralyzed. Kearney vowed to walk again and did after years of rehabilitation.
Although, she had cheated death, her biggest challenge was yet to come. Kearney was forced to resign from UT last January after the athletic department put her on leave following the discovery that she had engaged in a long-term relationship with a female track athlete she coached in 2002. (You can read this story from CNN for more detail surrounding the controversy.) Ironically, Kearney was set to receive a five-year contract extension worth more than $400,000 annually. Alleging discrimination based on her gender and race as well as retaliation (another coach, Major Applewhite, a white male, also had a relationship with a student but wasn’t dismissed), Kearney has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the university. The story was so big when it broke, it was covered by the Associated Press.
Recently, Kearney pressed RESET.
MN: Describe your state eight months or so ago?
BK: I was in a state of confusion. Confusion that you experience when the world stops around you and you are standing in the middle of an intersection confused because you’ve gone a certain direction your entire life. Are you going to go left or right? When you are stuck in the middle of road and everything comes to a halt, you have to get back to the core and accept what you are left with. We move constantly and are conceited enough to think we do everything on our own. [We] don’t realize that environment plays an integral role in development. I had to go back to the starting point to find me — all of me, being comfortable with me.
MN: What was the life lesson you kept repeating?
BK: Compromising; not being truthful to my ultimate mission and spirit. I was being subservient to my ego… My childhood and car accident taught me that I could overcome anything. However I was still living based upon others’ standards. I forgot the importance of self-love. The lesson for me to master was love. Love who you are, your choices, and accept all God has provided.
MN: What happened to you that made you press reset?
BK: I grew up in chaos and as an adult I’ve tried to avoid chaos. I went from being homeless as a child, to a star college athlete and accepting my first coaching job at 22. It was my crusade to break down barriers in a predominantly male, white world in collegiate sports and UT afforded me a national stage as an African-American female coach. I recruited the best, cultivated smart, gifted and accomplished student athletes. With that said, in a blink of an eye it was all taken away.
My reset button was pushed when my personal life became a public scandal. I’ve always been prepared, never feared losing material things, but what I did not realize is how my personal brand — the most valuable part of me — was being tarnished by my peers. I had to fight for my brand and not allow the scandal to tarnish what I had accomplished thus far.
BK: I am more mindful, peaceful, balanced and my health is great. Life is a journey of sacrifice, self-evaluation and letting go of ego to walk in service. I’ve become a better version of an older me. At the end of the day, I am still a work in progress.
MN: Why is it important to get uncomfortable in life?
BK: I’ve learned without darkness how can you appreciate light? Without hatred how could you discover love? The challenges in life are here to make us better, smarter, [and] fearless. I’ve learned that challenges are not to destroy us, but to make us greater. I’ve pressed RESET.
Coach Beverly Kearney is completing two books at present including an autobiography and a movie on her life. Check her out at BevKearneypursuitofdreams.com.
Karen Taylor Bass, Author, PR Expert, Brand Mom, Corporate and Small Business Coach and Adviser. Follow her @thebrandnewmom on Twitter.
In WTH news for the day, Jennifer Lopez is being sued by a 53-year-old man named Rodrigo Ruiz, who claims that the “American Idol” judge led him on romantically and promised him big dreams of a career in the music business. According to Rodrigo, Jennifer sent him a letter of out the blue in 2008, requesting nude photos and his demo CD. He shared a portion of the letter with TMZ.
“I just wanted to let you know that I do remember you and that I am interested in you,” an excerpt of the letter alleged to be sent by J.Lo reads. “I have plans on leaving my husband. But I can’t say much right now so that’s it for now. Send me pictures of you both with clothes and without clothes.”
An excerpt from an additional letter reads:
“This is Jennifer Lopez writing to you again and just to let you know that I got your packages, music, and demos. And just to let you know you need to send me pictures of you with and without clothes.”
The last and final letter alleged to have been sent from Jennifer was even more odd than the first two.
“This is Jennifer Lopez and as you can tell its been a while since I last wrote and as you can see I have a new boyfriend which means your in for the long haul and you have to put up with the fact that I am f**king him and sucking his d**k.”
From letter one, most would’ve probably concluded that the letters were not from Jennifer; however, Mr. Ruiz apparently fell for the scam and now he’s suing Jennifer, claiming that he fell into a depression and had to seek professional help regarding the incident. Rodrigo also filed a police report claiming sexual harassment against the singer. It turns out that the owner of the P.O. box, which the letters came from, is owned by a 53-year-old Los Angeles woman.
J.Lo reps are confident that the case will be resolved soon.
“This is a small claims matter that appears to be a desperate attempt for notoriety,” a spokesperson told TMZ. “Ms Lopez has never seen or met the plaintiff, nor has she ever communicated with him. We believe this matter should be summarily dismissed.”
What a mess!
Two Sides Of The Same Coinye: Kanye’s Trademark Infringement Suit Against Coders Is Serious Business
Enter www.coinyewest.com into your browser and, at least at the time of this article, you’ll see the following message: “DUE TO LEGAL PRESSURE WE WILL BE LAUNCHING TODAY, January 7…” The message above the browser? “THEY F***KED WITH THIS COIN. We have to release early or die.” This messaging is accompanied by an odd logo: a black man’s head complete with a goatee and a fish tail, wearing the glasses that Kanye West made famous during his Graduation album years. The face clearly resembles Kanye West.
The Coinye West site aims to be a form of virtual currency in the vein of bitcoin and others.
Following a cease-and-desist letter sent by Kanye West’s attorneys on January 6th, the website has changed its name from Coinye West, to Coinye; changed its web domain to one registered in India; and altered its logo (originally it was a Kanye West-look-a-like’s face sans fishtail, but complete with goatee and the same pair of glasses). In their letter, attorneys for West cited, among other things, trademark infringement, unfair competition and copyright infringement based upon the music videos that were allegedly embedded in the website itself.
Attorneys for West list various action items in the letter, including a deactivation of the website and all affiliated social media accounts by January 6, 2014. Instead of complying, the site’s creators launched two days earlier than originally planned. “’We want to release this to the public before the man can try to crush it,’ a coder told The Wall Street Journal Monday night. ‘They’ll still come after us, but that’s OK.’”
From a legal standpoint, trademark infringement claims like this one equate to serious business. Celebrities, similar to businesses or other legal entities, work hard to build an easily identifiable brand. The stronger the brand (i.e., the more familiar the consumer world becomes with it), the more valuable that becomes. And by valuable, with stars of Kanye’s level, think astronomical.
Our intellectual property laws are designed to discourage and/or punish attempts by another party to profit off of the goodwill of a strong, easily recognizable brand. In addition to unfairly profiting from another’s work, floating a similar brand name in the market may lead the public to inadvertently associate that brand with the celebrity. Should that association prove to be a negative one, it will tarnish the celebrity’s brand, resulting in incalculable loss. In terms of loss, again, think astronomical.
Celebrities stand to lose big in instances of copyright infringement as well. (The suit brought by Marvin Gaye’s family against Robin Thicke for “Blurred Lines” is a recent example of one such infringement case.) Misappropriating someone’s original, creative expression — especially for commercial gain? A big no-no. A failure to adequately protect celebrity brands, and artistic expression, would serve only to discourage innovation, creativity and uniqueness in the market. As a result, our intellectual property laws – and those enforcing them – remain vigilant.
Unlike the Seth Rogen/James Franco Bound 2 spoof, which Kanye allegedly enjoyed, the Coinye team’s blatant disregard for Kanye’s legal rights is no laughing matter. The very strength of Kanye’s brand is at stake. As the cease-and-desist letter states, if Coinye fails to comply, Kanye “will proceed with necessary measures to protect [his] valuable rights.” These issues are rarely black-and-white but should Kanye’s attorneys prevail, Coinye (along with “any entity that accepts or exchanges COINYE WEST currency”) will soon be coughing up coins.
Karen J. Francis is a freelance writer and media attorney living in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @karebelle.