Hollywood Docket: 'Superman' Producer Jon Peters Ordered To Pay $3.3 Mil in Sexual Harassment Trial

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Former hairdresser turned movie studio executive turned producer Jon Peters (Superman) has lost a sexual harassment claim brought by a former assistant and has been ordered by a jury to pay $822,000 in lost wages plus $2.5 million in punitive damages to his accuser.

Shelly Morita alleged in her five-year-old lawsuit that during the making of Superman Returns, Peters had got into her bed uninvited and fondled her.

Jurors heard testimony how Peters withheld a $25,000 Christmas bonus until she signed a confidentiality agreement and how the producer of such films as Batman, Rain Man, and Wild Wild West exerted his influence in Hollywood to keep her from working after she quit.

Peters reportedly will seek an appeal.

In other entertainment legal news:

  • Google is hoping to use a recent judge's decision concerning the liability of MP3tunes to its advantage. In its mega-battle with Viacom over alleged copyright infringement on YouTube, Google has directed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's attention to the recent MP3tunes decision, in which the music locker service was found to be mostly protected by the DMCA's safe harbor provisions.
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West are facing legal action for allegedly not clearing a sample on their new album, Watch the Throne. The potential lawsuit comes from R&B singer Syl Johnson, who according to a blog post, is a "veteran of copyright infringement cases...[who] has done very well for himself clearing samples from his fertile catalog."
  • A record executive who sued singer Johnny Gill for defaming her on Twitter with claims of an unauthorized leak has settled. According to a joint statement, the record label will still be releasing Gill's new album.
  • The U.S. Justice Department has signed off on a plan by the Producers Guild of America to certify producers. The plan is to distinguish those who provide a full range of services with the initials "p.g.a." compared to financiers, lawyers, and others who just get generic on-screen producer credits. The plan will limit the market for working producers, which is why it was necessary for the DOJ to provide an opinion that this wasn't an antitrust violation.
  • The estate of famed jazz trumpeter Miles Davis is suing a Manhattan jazz club called Miles’ Cafe for infringing his allegedly trademarked first name.

E-mail: eriqgardner@yahoo.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner

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