Hollywood Docket: Justin Bieber's Fight With Former Bodyguard Gets Trial Date

A roundup of entertainment law news including settlements for The Black Keys, Electronic Arts and more.
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A tentative Feb. 18 date has been set in the trial where Justin Bieber gets to confront the former bodyguard who is suing him.

Moshe Benabou says that he was employed by Bieber's touring company from March 2011 to October 2012 until an incident happened where the singer is alleged to have yelled, "You are fired!"

According to the original complaint, Bieber was backstage prior to a concert when Bieber began a tirade against Benabou.

"The tirade was apparently triggered by what Justin Bieber perceived as an attempt by Moshe Benabou to keep one member of Mr. Bieber's entourage physically away from Justin Bieber," says the complaint. "As part of this tirade, Justin Bieber repeatedly punched Moshe Benabou in the chest and upper body area. Mr. Benabou did not retaliate or attempt to protect himself out of his concerns for Justin Bieber's physical well-being."

Bieber and BT Touring are being sued for assault, battery and failure to pay claimed owed wages.

Assuming there's no scheduling changes, expect the L.A. Superior Court to be mobbed with Beliebers next February. Also welcome to come is Ricky Gervais, the comedian who reacted to the lawsuit by asking, "Who would admit to being beaten up by Justin Bieber?"

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In other entertainment law news, some other disputes we've written about have quietly come to an end:

  • The Black Keys have settled a lawsuit they brought against Pinnacle Entertainment, which runs casinos throughout the United States, and Manhattan Production Music, a company that creates music for commercial advertising. Members of the band accused the casino operator of using music substantially similar to their hit, "Howlin' for You," in commercials. Previously, the band sued and then settled lawsuits against Pizza Hut and Home Depot with similar allegations.
  • Electronic Arts has amicably resolved a lawsuit brought by Textron, which manufactures military helicopters. The companies were disputing whether virtual helicopters in the game Battlefield infringed the trade dress of Textron's AH-1Z Viper, the UH-1Y transport helicopter, and the V-22 Osprey. EA claimed fair use. The case has now been dismissed with prejudice after the parties told the court about the private settlement.
  • The entertainment and media industry has seen a wave of litigation in the wake of a New York judge's decision to award summary judgment to two interns working on Fox Searchlight's Black Swan. One of the cases has now been settled. Intern Justice has announced that it has reached a satisfactory monetary settlement against the production company of Nickelodeon's Alien Dawn. The plaintiff in the case alleged that he was denied certain wages while working as an intern in alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Whether or not a plastic surgeon can take a copyrighted photo to speculate on celebrity plastic surgery will have to wait for another day. The National Photo Group and Beverly Hills surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn filed a "Notice of Settlement" in court last week in the dispute over a photo of singer Cyndi Lauper.

Not all litigation ends with a whimper. Some lawsuits sink on the merits.

  • A California federal judge has dismissed a $1 billion lawsuit brought against the Walt Disney Company for allegedly dumping toxins at its Burbank studio that flowed into storm drains of the adjacent neighborhood. It's another victory for Disney in a rash of environmental suits. "The long history of plaintiffs' litigation efforts against Disney is strong evidence that counsel knew that the claims asserted in the complaint had already been dismissed by other courts and were not likely to succeed," ruled U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee.

Twitter: @eriqgardner