Hollywood Docket: "Most Interesting Man"; Dr. Luke v. Kesha; 'Goldie and Bear' Lawsuit

What's percolating in the courts, including the sentencing of a former Epix executive who engaged in an elaborate fraud scheme.
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Jonathan Goldsmith

Jonathan Goldsmith, once known as "the most interesting man in the world" through his work as a brand ambassador for Dos Equis, has gotten the California Labor Commissioner to void a management agreement with Butch Klein and Jordan Lee, Inc.

The legal fight started when Klein's firm sued Goldsmith for breach of contract for failing to pay commissions after termination. According to the lawsuit, Goldsmith was making $1 million a year from his advertising work.

Goldsmith then filed a petition before the Labor Commission alleging that JLI had procured work for him as an unlicensed agent in contravention of California's Talent Agencies Act.

On May 23, the Labor Commissioner granted Goldsmith the victory. 

According to testimony, Goldsmith's talent agent and future wife, Barbara Buky, had joined JLI in 2004 and would two years later obtain Goldsmith's Dos Equis gig, even though she didn't have a license at the time. A few years later, she was no longer working at JLI and Klein entered into negotiations with the brewer to get more money for Goldsmith. A new agreement came. But before negotiations had concluded and the agreement was executed, JLI itself wasn't licensed. That would change in 2012, but it was apparently too late.

Here's the full decision.

Goldsmith was represented by Martin Singer and David Jonelis at Lavely & Singer. He is no longer working with Dos Equis.

In other entertainment law news:

— Kesha Rose Sebert is now attempting to limit the scope in an ongoing defamation lawsuit brought by Dr. Luke. The producer alleges that Kesha smeared him with false sexual abuse allegations and, in a bill of particulars, identified 44 additional defamatory statements in addition to what was included in the complaint. Kesha's attorneys are now looking to keep those statements out of the case. Dr. Luke's expert witness has concluded he suffered $50 million in lost profits from his work as a songwriter and producer. "On the procedural front, Dr. Luke opted for an amended bill of particulars because a motion for leave to amend his complaint would require him to demonstrate that his new claims have merit — which he cannot do," wrote Kesha's attorneys in a motion filed Thursday. "Why is there a substantive reason to re-make his case? Because Kesha's experts demonstrated that he cannot prove any harm arising from the allegedly defamatory statements identified in his operative pleading."

— Jan Korbelin, the former executive producer of the Disney Junior show, Goldie and Bear, is claiming breach of contract in a $20 million lawsuit against ABC Cable Networks Group. According to the complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Korbelin was let go shortly before the first season of the show concluded. Korbelin was told of "mismanagement," and allegedly Disney had lined up a different animation company in New York to take over the show. Korbelin says that Disney was required under contract to give her written notice of problems and the opportunity to fix. Instead, Korbelin asserts she was fired without cause and that her production company was destroyed when all of her employees departed to work with the new production company. As such, she also is claiming tortious interference.

— Emil Rensing, former chief digital officer of the cable network Epix, has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for defrauding his former employer of more than $7 million. Rensing was charged in 2016 and, according to the U.S. Attorney for the New York Southern District, he pled guilty. While at Epix, Rensing set up fake companies and submitted invoices to his employer for purported services. Prosecutors say the services were in large part never performed. In addition to prison time, he also will have to pay $7.77 million in restitution to Epix plus the cable network's expenses for participating in the government's investigation.

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