Hollywood Docket: Selena Gomez's Fragrance Deal; Actress vs. IMDb Appeal

A roundup of entertainment law news including five appeals to watch.
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Selena Gomez

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."

Represented by Michael Weinsten at Lavely & Singer, Gomez says that Adrenalina's lawsuit was a "a tactical ploy to escape liability for its own breaches of contract and exposure to millions in damages."

Adrenalina claimed that Gomez had been difficult in promotion and wanted the relationship ended.

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Gomez, though, points to SEC statements from the company about financing troubles and a $1.2 million lawsuit from one of Adrenalina's suppliers, and says, "By failing to pay its bills, and by jeopardizing the brand with a public lawsuit, Adrenalina has breached both the express terms of the license and the 'implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing' that enures to every contract."

She adds, "Under these circumstances, Ms. Gomez had no choice but to terminate the license to protect her reputation and brand."

Here's the full cross-complaint.

In other entertainment law news:

  • A California appeals court has paved the way for the reinstatement of a default judgment worth about $150,000 against Viacom. The money would go to the law firm of Perkins Coie, which in 2005, had obtained a nearly $116,000 judgment against the rapper Master P. Perkins Coie, in hopes of attaining the money, filed a "creditor's suit in aid of enforcement of judgment" against Viacom after hearing that Master P was doing a pilot for MTV. Viacom took too long to respond, and a default judgment was entered against them. Later, the company came back to the court and gave some reasons why a judge should lift the default judgment including a lack of awareness of what was happening. The judge agreed to do so, but this week, California's Second Appellate District decided that Viacom hadn't acted with reasonable diligence and directed the trial court to basically reinstate the original default. Here's the ruling.
  • Huong Hoang, the actress suing IMDb for revealing her age, lost a jury trial in April, but the case isn't over. Hoang has now appealed up to the Ninth Circuit and things could get interesting again. Before the dispute reached a jury, the judge trimmed many of Hoang's claims and wouldn't allow her to open up the case to explore all sorts of privacy violations on other actors who had their ages published. The grounds of her appeal aren't clear yet. Her opening brief is due in August. Something to watch.
  • Other recent rulings of note that have just been appealed include YouTube's second summary judgment victory against Viacom, Sony's win over writer Joe Quirk's breach of implied contract claim on Premium Rush, Warner Bros.' successful attempt to block the mockbuster Age of the Hobbits, and Angelina Jolie's copyright win against a Croatian journalist who sued over her directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey.
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