A former executive at Jennifer Lopez's production company has sued claiming he was pushed out and mistreated by well-known producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Brian Schornak, who says he was a senior producer and executive at Lopez's Nuyorican Productions, calls Goldsmith-Thomas a "tyrant" who was hired by Lopez and then conspired to demote him, berate him and falsely accuse him of stealing before orchestrating his termination from the company.
Representing such clients as Charlie Sheen, John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson, attorney Marty Singer has become famous for sending menacing legal threats. But Thursday, a California appeals court will consider whether Singer crossed the line with one demand letter sent two years ago, later determined by a judge to be an "extortion" attempt.
Singer sent the letter July 25, 2011, on behalf of Top Chef Canada judge Shereene Arazm to Big Brother contestant and VH1 Famous Food host Mike Malin.
Arazm and Malin were business partners in a restaurant group until Arazm said he discovered that Malin allegedly had embezzled and mismanaged more than $1 million in assets. In his letter, Singer demanded a full forensic accounting and the return of funds. He attached a draft of a lawsuit that he said would be filed in court if the dispute wasn't resolved. Perhaps most intimidating was the part of the letter (read here) that stated, "I have deliberately left blank spaces in portions of the complaint dealing with your using company resources to arrange sexual liaisons with ------------------. When the complaint is filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, there will be no blanks in the pleading.”
In November 2011, after Malin sued Singer and Arazm for trying to extort him, a judge shocked the legal community by determining that Singer’s communications weren't protected. "The allegations of sexual misconduct contained in the demand letter in this case are very tangential," wrote Los Angeles judge Mary Strobel, adding that the "letter is best read as extortion as a matter of law [because] [i]t threatens to reveal the names of sexual partners."
When an entertainment company spends years winking to its audience about the staged nature of its reality programming, what happens when someone attempts to convince a judge it's too real?
Last month, Andrew Green sued World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., over alleged injuries he suffered at the hands of wrestler Paul D. Wight, Jr., aka the "Big Show." Green was employed by the WWE as a road producer for digital production and was responsible for conducting interviews with wrestlers after their matches. Green says that he suffered "physical and mental injuries" at last January's pay-per-view Royal Rumble when the Big Show, coming off a staged defeat in the wrestling ring, attacked him while he was trying to get an interview.
Late last week, the WWE had the lawsuit removed to a federal court in Arizona and pointed to a release and waiver that Green had signed in the course of his employment. The defendant says that Green's claims arise out of the exploitation of the video footage posted online.
The new owner of Variety is having a bit of buyer’s remorse.
Variety Media and racing heir Jay Penske's Penske Media Corp. have filed a second lawsuit charging that when it was sold the trade publication in Oct. 2012, the then-owner did not reveal contracts with a promotional partner and with a printer that would require payments of millions of dollars.
Fox Entertainment Group executives have been reading Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire and they like what they see.
On Wednesday, former interns at these publications owned by Hearst failed in a bid for class certification in a lawsuit over alleged exploitation of cheap labor. After determining that not enough commonality existed among some 3,000 fashion magazine interns, U.S. District Judge Harold Baer adjourned a trial "sine die," which translates from Latin to Cosmopolitan as "99 Ways the Judge Won't Give Me the Day."
Wasting no time, Fox raced to the federal judge in its own case to tell him to read up. As U.S. District Judge William Pauley is prepared within a matter of weeks to bless or deny class certification in the most significant challenge to Hollywood internships ever, Fox believes that individuals who once interned on such films as Black Swan and (500) Days of Summer as well as those who interned in its corporate department will soon experience the fate suffered by Hearst's interns.
Scrubs star Donald Faison has been sued by his former agents for commissions from the long-running comedy.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, United Talent Agency claims the actor stopped paying a 10 percent commission after episode 3 of the show's ninth and final season. He also allegedly failed to share the $60,000 fee from an ABC pilot called The Law."
In February, Cablevision made a move with the potential of forever changing the television industry. The cable TV company sued Viacom, alleging that the owner of "must-have networks" like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV had threatened to impose a "10-figure penalty" if Cablevision didn't license smaller networks like Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic.
On Wednesday, Viacom reacted to the antitrust charge with a motion to dismiss.
Viacom not only disputes Cablevision's characterization that it has engaged in a “per se” illegal tying arrangement by bundling its networks, but goes on the attack against the plaintiff with a blistering barrage of the many ways that Cablevision has allegedly contradicted itself. As the case goes forward, Cablevision may have to dance around statements made to past courts, the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Selena Gomez has struck back at an accusation that she breached a deal to endorse fragrance products.
In reaction to a lawsuit from Adrenalina Inc, the pop star has filed counterclaims alleging $5.2 million in damages. According to her legal papers filed on Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court, Adrenalina promised to pay her a 5 percent royalty with a guaranteed minimum payment of $5.7 million.
The counterclaims says that the promises by Adrenalina turned out to prove meaningless: "As would later be disclosed in public filings, but which was not known to Ms. Gomez or her representatives at the time, Adrenalina was a company with a checkered past and without the wherewithal to fund its financial commitments."
Thanks to new technology, it has become much easier to figure out the source of samples in songs. The tracing technology holds legal ramifications: Now that copyright owners of sound recordings can point to better evidence of their work being used without license, they stand a better shot of proving an infringement. What isn't clear is whether a sample so artfully hidden as to be undetectable without advanced technology is used substantially enough to trigger any liability.
One thing technology will never change is relationships in the music production business.
Witness a lawsuit over Madonna's 1990 international hit, "Vogue," which according to a lawsuit filed last year, incorporates a horn sound from a decades-old composition called "Love Break." The litigation has just taken an incredible turn with one of the defendants -- "Vogue" producer Robert "Shep" Pettibone --- saying he co-authored the plaintiff's song and further alleging that the plaintiffs worked on the defendants' song. And, in the middle of this, there's said to be a romantic relationship that factors into both the creation of and subsequent lawsuit over one of Madonna's most famous works.
Caitlin Sanchez, the teenager who starred on Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer until she reached puberty, will have to live with the $500,000 she got to settle a $10 million lawsuit she filed against the network in 2010.
The former child star alleged that she was "duped" into a deal that when factoring tax payments and lawyer contingency fees, left her with basically nothing. She accused her former attorney of forcing her to take a bad deal and wanted to revive a battle against Nickelodeon and MTV Networks that made headlines throughout the world.
But on Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dealt her a crushing blow. Three circuit judges have affirmed a lower court's decision to affirm the settlement agreement.
Phil McGraw's Peteski Productions has filed suit against Gawker Media for posting footage of the TV therapist's Dr. Phil show interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax, on its sports gossip blog, Deadspin.com.
Filed Monday in Texarkana, Texas, the suit claims the website posted the juiciest parts of the interview online before it had aired in the majority of Dr. Phil markets. The lawsuit (read here in full) also includes a paraphyletic reference to make an attack on the system of content aggregation.
"A remora is a fish, sometimes called a suckerfish, which attaches itself to other fish like sharks," reads the complaint. "The host fish gains nothing from the relationship but the remora is enriched by obtaining benefits (usually food and transportation) from the host ... Gawker received substantial benefits from its infringement but Pateski received nothing that is, unless its damages are compensated in this lawsuit."
David Elliot and Paul Lovett, two of the credited screenwriters on the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, have filed a massive lawsuit against Paramount, MGM, Hasbro and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura.
At issue is the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which came out in March and grossed nearly $120 million in the domestic box office.
According to a complaint filed in California federal court late last week and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Elliot and Lovett had a contractual "first opportunity" to write the first sequel to the Joe Cobra movie if they were the sole writers. But they weren't. Stuart Beattie was also given a co-screenwriting credit.
Nevertheless, the two writers say that shortly after the premiere of the 2009 film, the defendant film companies asked them to present plot lines, themes, characters and more for a potential sequel "with the stated intent that the PDH defendants would hire plaintiffs to write the screenplay if they liked plaintiffs' proposed sequel."
Elliot and Lovett said that they did just that, and now after seeing their work allegedly taken without credit, they are seeking more than $23 million in damages for copyright infringement and breach of implied contract.
"These original inventions, which make plaintiffs' proposed sequel a compelling piece of storytelling, have been stolen by the (defendants) in the hopes of infusing the Joe Retaliation movie with the blockbuster power of plaintiffs' work."
EMI Music will be allowed to pay itself for the foreign exploitation of Duke Ellington music, a New York appeals court has ruled.
The decision is a defeat for Paul Ellington, the grandson of the great jazz pianist, who sued EMI for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He alleged that EMI had breached a 1961 songwriter royalty agreement with Ellington by deducting fees for foreign affiliates before accounting to Ellington's 50 percent share of net revenue.
In 2011, EMI prevailed at a New York State court by arguing that it was allowed to do so by the terms of the 1961 contract. On Thursday, an appellate division in New York agreed with the assessment that the contract is not ambiguous.