Hollywood Docket: WME-IMG Sued Over Canceled Super Bowl Event

Plus CNN is suing a consumer drone company for trademark infringement, and The Blaze and Tomi Lahren have reached a settlement.
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WME building in Los Angeles

WME-IMG is being sued for allegedly stiffing a party-planning company after canceling an event it was hosting in conjunction with Super Bowl LI, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Indiana federal court.

Business Media Group says it was hired to produce an event for the mega agency at The Astorian Hotel in Houston. The deal required a $100,000 deposit, which WME-IMG paid, according to the complaint. A balance of more than $230,000 was due in January, but even though it hadn't been paid on time, BMG claims to have continued work on the event at the company's behest.

"WME told BMG that its accounting department had the invoice and that they would check to see why the invoice had not been paid," writes attorney Gary Sallee. "WME also told BMG that the payment had been delayed because of a company retreat."

Later, WME-IMG informed BMG that it intended to cancel the event and would not pay the balance the planner claims it is owed under their contract. According to the contract attached as an exhibit, WME was entitled to cancel with notice at least seven days prior to the event.

Nevertheless, BMG is demanding the estimate costs.

"WME works with hundreds of event entities annually across the globe and has a strong track record of honoring our contracts," says a spokesperson in response to the lawsuit. "We are confident that the facts support us in this case and we look forward to defending ourselves in court."

In other entertainment legal news:

— Sony Music is suing Applebee's over the use of copyrighted songs by AC/DC and C+C Music Factory in its commercials. Sony says the restaurant used "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" and "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" despite failing to sign an agreed upon deal and pay the $300,000 licensing fee. The label claims that a music clearance company called Music Dealers facilitated the deal on behalf of Applebee's, along with ad agency Barkley Inc. "Applebee’s Services and Barkley have refused to pay the license fees to Sony Music, claiming that they paid them to Music Dealers, that Music Dealers was acting as Sony Music’s agent and that Music Dealers has gone out of business," writes attorney Peter Anderson, adding that the excuse is "baseless, contrived and in bad faith." Sony is suing for breach of contract and copyright infringement. (Read the complaint in full here.)

— Rising conservative star Tomi Lahren and Glenn Beck have reached a settlement in her exit from The Blaze — and she gets to keep her 4 million Facebook fans. Lahren was taken off air following an appearance on The View in which she said the government shouldn't decide what women do with their bodies. She sued Beck and The Blaze for breach of contract in April and asked the court for a declaration that she was the owner of her social media accounts and that she was wrongfully terminated. Beck and the network countersued, but, just more than two weeks later, it seems the parties have sorted the situation out. "TheBlaze is pleased to announce that the relationship with Tomi Lahren has concluded," a representative for the outlet said Monday. "Ms. Lahren will continue to have access to her social media accounts as has always been the case."

— CNN has been dealt another blow in the defamation fight over its June 2015 report that the infant mortality rate for open-heart surgery at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, was three times the national average. Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Dr. Michael Black, a pediatric cardiac surgeon who was referenced in the story. He sued claiming, among other things, that the network's statistics were manipulated and its statements about his work were defamatory. Oftedal found that Black sufficiently pleaded that CNN acted with actual malice, and found that the statements made are of and concerning Black because he is the only person who performs pediatric heart surgeries at the hospital. (Read the decision in full here.) In February, the network failed in a similar motion in a parallel lawsuit from the hospital's chief executive David Carbone. 

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