March 22, 2012 11:15pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Lindsay Lohan's Lawyer Accused of Plagiarism in Pitbull Lawsuit (Exclusive)
Lindsay Lohan has been in some odd legal situations throughout her career. Might this one top them all?
For the past couple of years, an attorney named Stephanie Ovadia has been representing Lohan in claims involving the fast-growing legal realm of publicity rights. Specifically, the actress has sued claiming her image was misappropriated in eTrade's famous "milkaholic" commercial and in a song by the hip-hop artist Pitbull.
That latter case is on shaky ground due to the rapper's free-speech rights. But Lohan's attorney might have opened up an entirely new situation to watch: Ovadia has been accused of plagiarizing much of her recent legal brief from newspapers, law firms and other education websites.
In the Pitbull song, "Give Me Everything," Pitbull raps, ""So, I'm tiptoein', to keep flowin', I got it locked up, like Lindsay Lohan."
In a recent motion to dismiss, Pitbull (real name: Armando Christian Perez) said that legal precedent protects the right of artists to express themselves, even by using the names of celebrities in works of art.
It was Ovadia's job to save the case. Would the lawyer be up for the task? Keep in mind that this is the same attorney who once filed one of the strangest legal briefs we've ever seen, arguing in the eTrade case why Lohan should get special treatment compared to the other 250,000 Lindsays in the United States.
In her opposition brief (embedded below), Ovadia discusses a legal interpretation of the First Amendment with such peculiar lines as, "The threshold of consciousness is the dividing line between something that can be processed by the conscious mind and something that enters the subconscious mind without any such processing."
And it gets weirder.
Soon after Ovadia filed this brief, Pitbull's pitbull lawyers responded by accusing the attorney of stealing her words. They wrote that her "legal discussion mostly consists of plagiarized excerpts of articles found on various websites without explaining their relevance to the facts and issues in this case."
And they included a side-by-side comparison of quotes from Ovadia's brief with excerpts from the educational site Art on Trial, the Los Angeles Times, various law firm websites and more. (The comparison is also embedded below.)
It's possible that all of this doesn't amount to much. But could Ovadia, by representing Lohan, be putting her client in copyright jeopardy? Keep in mind that Ovadia allegedly lifted work from lawyers, who are known to be, um, litigious.
Reached for comment, Ovadia's office pointed the finger at Anand Ahuja, of counsel at the firm, who wrote the brief.
Ahuja was contacted too and says that he turned in "4 or 5 drafts to Stephanie, who looks like somehow by mistake submitted the first one."
He adds that typically his first draft includes footnotes and references and that it gets amended along the way, but that the submission was turned in past the judge's deadline, stripped of his footnotes, and that it was Ovadia's job to review it before signing and filing the document.