All Articles Tagged "lawsuit"

50 Cent Loses Lawsuit, Owes Headphone Company $16M

April 10th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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What brand of headphones are those? via /

What brand of headphones are those? via /

Hip-hop mogul 50 Cent will have to fork over a chunk of his estimated $500 million net worth, having just lost a major lawsuit by a headphones manufacturer who claimed Fitty (born Curtis Jackson) stole their design. A judge thought so too and awarded the manufacturer $16.1 million, reports Radar.

Sleek headphones will receive $11,693,247 in damages, plus $4,488,331 in attorney’s fees.

According to the suit, a deal for Sleek to market headphones for the rapper fell through. After 50 invested more than $1 million in Sleek to create his line, the rapper went to another company and, according to court documents obtained by Radar, Sleek felt the Sync by 50 headphones were “basically the same design, mechanically” as the ones they had developed.

The $230 Sync by 50 was produced by SMS, for which 50′s listed as CEO of the company, reports Digital Trends. Prior to the Sync  by 50, SMS released SMS Street by 50, which ran for $400.

But 50 says it wasn’t his fault and blamed “certain security lapses” for permitting Sleek’s competitors to uncover their unique design. An arbitrator, however, found that “there was no evidence presented by Jackson that such alleged lapses … resulted in any public disclosure of any trade secret or confidential information of Sleek.” And actually the arbitrator said Jackson’s team purposely made a similar model.

Sleek also claimed that Jackson and his assistants stole confidential private client data from a website they was developed to promote 50′s forthcoming headphones. In all, there were 3,639 potential customers’ email addresses and other data that “disappeared” from Sleek’s servers after 50’s people were given the password.

When Sleek emailed 50’s team about the website breach, his personal business manager, Nicolee Martin wrote, “[Sleek] is onto us, LOL. They emailed and called … about the data.”

Another member of Jackson’s team responded: “Tell him something like, sorry, you just have to finish editing a video for 50 or something, we’ll get to it, LOL.”

Following this, Sleek filed a lawsuit against Jackson for misappropriating trade secrets, breaching his fiduciary duty due Sleek, participating in a civil conspiracy, breaching his confidentiality pact with Sleek, and being unjustly enriched. The rapper countersued, claiming Sleek fraudulently lured him into entering into an investment with them and other allegations. While an arbitrator assigned to the case sided with Sleek last May and agreed to an interim agreement of $11,693,247 in damages, plus attorney’s fees, 50 has been fighting the additional fees. He even alleged racism at one point.

Finally an arbitrator has signed off on the final agreement, awarding Sleek $4,488,331 in attorneys’ fees. The grand total of the judgment: $16,181578.

But the arbitrator did find some fault with Sleek, writing the company’s founders “did not have a good head for business. Thus the arbitrator can sympathize with Jackson’s growing frustration that he was putting money into Sleek and not, in his opinion, seeing the results that he assumed would be forthcoming on a timely basis…”

NFL Suing Rapper MIA For $16.6M Over Her 2012 Super Bowl Performance

March 18th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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A still from the "Paper Planes" video

A still from the “Paper Planes” video

The NFL has added $15.1 million to the lawsuit they’ve filed against rapper MIA over her 2012 Super Bowl performance in which she gave the audience the finger.

At first, the NFL was only looking for $1.5 million. The new, much higher figure comes from the NFL’s argument that the finger damaged the NFL’s “wholesome” image. Moreover, the league is arguing that her appearance is tantamount to an advertisement. She performed for two minutes and 10 seconds.

MIA took the lawsuit public in September. At that point, she had been going back and forth with the NFL for about a year and was accused of “resisting arbitration.”

“The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic,” was the response from MIA’s lawyer.

The paperwork she and her lawyers filed also says there were 222 complaints filed for the show. The year of Janet Jackson’s “nipple-gate,” there were 542,000.

mia tweet1

In another portion of the response, MIA notes that the players and coaches themselves do the same and worse while on camera. Not to mention what the players are doing off the field. (Like getting accused of murder.)

Sounds like the NFL is overreaching. Thoughts?

McDonald’s Being Sued Over Employee Pay, New Protests Focus On “Wage Theft”

March 18th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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A man identified as only "Ben" dressed as Ronald McDonald during protests today.  Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A man identified as only “Ben” dressed as Ronald McDonald during protests today. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Fed up with being paid low wages by one of world’s largest corporations, several employees are taking McDonald’s to court. A number of lawsuits have filed against the fast food chain recently accusing the company of a variety of practices to get around paying workers what they’re due.

Suits have been filed in California, Michigan, and New York against McDonald’s and its franchisees. The six lawsuits and one amended lawsuit involve both franchise-owned and company owned sites. The lawsuits charge  a number of violations such as the use of software that figures out the ratio of labor costs as a percentage of revenue. “When that ratio rises above a target, attorneys say workers are forced to wait around before they can clock in,” reports The Grio.  Lawyers also say workers in Michigan must buy their own uniforms, which violates labor rules.

President Barack Obama, Democratic lawmakers and labor organizers want to increase the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (or about $15,000 annually for full-time work) to $10.10. Obama has already told the Labor Department to amend rules that will make overtime pay accessible to a number of groups who couldn’t get it before.

In a statement, McDonald’s said it is looking into the claims and will take any necessary actions.

“McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a concern and commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants,” the company said.

Most of America’s more than 14,000 McDonald’s locations are owned by franchisees.

Meanwhile, the people who aren’t suing McDonald’s were protesting against it. Rallies in New York (where the photo above was taken), Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston sought not only the $15-per-hour wage increase that workers have been rallying for for some months now, but also called out the chain for what they call “wage theft,” highlighting some of the practices alleged in the aforementioned lawsuits.

Channel Orange! Frank Ocean Responds To Chipotle Lawsuit With Some Colorful Language

March 12th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Mats Andersson/

Mats Andersson/

Chipotle is suing Frank Ocean and he’s not happy about it.

The Mexican fast food chain (that really does make one of the most delicious burritos you can have at a chain restaurant for under $10) claims Ocean backed out of a $425,000 deal to sing a remake of “Pure Imagination” for an animated ad about factory farming, reports The Los Angeles Times.

In the suit, Chipotle says that Ocean never recorded the track because he was upset that the company’s logo pops up at the end of the animated spot. Court papers also state that the Ocean’s reps emailed Chipotle saying the singer was promised final decision over the recording and all promotional materials tied to the campaign. It also says that Ocean thinks it is Chipotle that is in breach because it refused to remove its logo from the ad.

Chipotle wants back the $215,500 advance it paid to Ocean.

Ocean used Tumblr to respond. He posted a link to the Wikipedia entry for “defamation.”

“And then he uploaded a scan of a cashier’s check in the sum of $215,500 that had Monday’s date on it,” reports  the Times. Ocean blacked out the name of the recipient of the money, but in the memo section he scribbled a note telling the company to kiss off in less family-friendly terms (replace “kiss” with an F bomb and you’ll get it).

Fiona Apple wound up doing the spot for Chipotle, which you can watch here. Separately, if this doesn’t make you want to eat all organic or grow your own food, I don’t know… The cows!


Must Be The Money: Powerball Couple Back Together, Lawsuit Dropped

March 11th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Inez and PedroRemember the $338 million Powerball winner from New Jersey who split from his long-time girlfriend after winning the jackpot, at which point she sued for half? Well, the pair have reunited and the lawsuit is, well, off.

Pedro Quezada, who took the lump-sum payment from his lottery win back in November and wound up with $152 million after taxes, split from Inez Sanchez, whom he had described in various media write-ups at the time as his wife. Sanchez had been in a 10-year union with Quezada, had a child with him, and co-owned a grocery store with him. They also shared a home. She decided to sue the 44-year-old lotto winner when he moved out — taking his money with him. She claimed his winning lotto ticket was purchased with shared earnings, thus she deserved a portion of the winnings.

But it seems Quezada was depressed without Sanchez, reports The Record.  “He went from having all of this family and no money to having all of this money and no family,” Quezada’s attorney Paul Fernandez told the newspaper. Sanchez has dropped the suit and the couple are once again living together, reports The Huffington Post. And, says Quezada, Sanchez can have “whatever she wants.”

“I wish the parties good luck and a wonderful future,” Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh was quoted as saying. “I hope this works out for you. Good luck, be happy and find what is most important in life.”

Does this sound like a solid relationship? Or is money really at the heart of it?

That Was Fast: A New Jury Says Da Brat Has To Pay $3.7M To Cheerleader She Cracked With A Bottle

February 27th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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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.

Whatever they were fighting, we’re sure it wasn’t worth all of this.
[via TMZ]

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.

King Family Battle Update: MLK Bible & Nobel Peace Prize Now Controlled By Court

February 24th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Bernice A. King and Martin Luther King III. Photo: WENN

Bernice A. King and Martin Luther King III. Photo: WENN

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.

Former Nicki Minaj Hair Stylist Sues For $30M, Claiming Wig Designs Are His

February 21st, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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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.”

Sen. Rand Paul Sues President Obama To Stop NSA Spying

February 17th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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via @SenRandPaul

via @SenRandPaul

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.

Michael Jackson’s Fans Sue Doctor For “Emotional Distress” & Win

February 14th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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"Michael Jackson pf"


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.

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