Hollywood Docket: Dec. 20, 2007

Man claims BET network defamed him as 'murderer'

Prince v. Viacom, Case No. 07-CV-4274 (USDC, S. Texas), filed Dec. 12.

Claims: Publicity rights, defamation, injunctive relief.

Allegations: During broadcasts advertising the second season of the true-crime show "American Gangsters," Viacom's BET division showed a photograph of plaintiffs James Prince and Thomas Randle with Larry Hoover, the alleged leader of a Chicago street gang. The narrator stated that those depicted in the photo were "murderers," but "neither Mr. Prince nor Mr. Randle has ever been convicted of any felony offenses, let alone murder." The broadcasts "creat[ed] the impression that Mr. Prince and Mr. Randle were complicit in ... the criminal activities attributed to Mr. Hoover, which included alleged murders."

Filing attorney: Warren Fitzgerald, Houston

Glass v. NBC Universal, Case No. 07-CV-8044 (USDC, C. Calif.), filed Dec. 11

Claims: Illegal gambling class action.

Allegations: NBC offers the Lucky X "game of chance" to viewers of its "America's Got Talent" show. Viewers with cellphones may compete for a weekly prize by sending a text message for which they pay standard text-messaging rates plus a premium charge of $0.99 per entry received. "Defendants operation of Lucky X constitutes an illegal lottery and illegal gambling" because it involves, among other things, consideration based on the premium text-message fee, chance and a prize.

Filing attorney: Sabrina Kim, Milberg Weiss, Los Angeles.