Hollywood Docket: Peter Fonda Withdraws Lawsuit Against Dolce & Gabbana

A roundup of entertainment law news, including Tippi Hedren's lawsuit against insurers, a win for Sony Music down under and the guy who didn't get lines in "Scary Movie 5."
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Peter Fonda

Peter Fonda has dismissed a lawsuit against Dolce & Gabbana and Nordstrom that alleged the fashion house depicted his image on Easy Rider shirts without his permission.

The 74-year-old actor filed his lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last July. The complaint alleged he had "suffered injuries to his peace, happiness, feelings, goodwill, reputation, image, loss of fair market value of his services, and dilution of his current and future publicity value."

The complaint also included examples of shirts being sold with images of Fonda riding a motorcycle from the 1969 movie.

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The litigation appeared primed to set up the issue over whether Fonda's image in the movie was owned by him or Easy Rider studio Columbia Pictures (owned by Sony), but the dispute was cut short on June 25 when Fonda's attorney requested the lawsuit be dismissed without prejudice.

That came two months after Fonda's original attorney in the case filed a lien notice for fees and costs said to be owed by the actor. But that lien notice didn't factor into the actor's withdrawal of claims. Sony's involvement had more to do with the decision. According to Fonda's reps, no money exchanged hands in the deal.

In other entertainment law news:

  • Tippi Hedren, who last December got a California appeals court to affirm a nearly $1.5 million judgment, is now looking at insurers in hopes of collection. The actress, most famous for The Birds, was injured while rehearsing a scene for a TV show titled Fashion House and later retained attorney Joseph Allen to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner and lessee of the soundstage. The lawsuit was mishandled, and Hedren then sued her former lawyer for malpractice. She won, but to recover the money, she's now in court against American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company and Zurich American Insurance Company claiming they breached duties to settle and indemnify the claims against the insured attorney.
  • Down under in Australia, Allan Caswell, who wrote the theme to a 1980s Australian television soap Prisoner, has lost a lawsuit against his own music publisher, Sony ATV Music Publishing Australia. The songwriter alleged that Sony had failed to exercise its duties by not collecting royalties on Alabama's chart-topping 1982 country hit, "Christmas in Dixie," which Caswell alleged was plagiarized from his TV theme song. Sony also held rights on the Alabama song. The case was rejected by a judge, though, after a member of Alabama testified he hadn't heard Caswell's tune until being notified of Caswell's complaint. The judge said he was "satisfied," also remarking that the central element of both songs is "one of the most basic and common harmonic patterns in all music."
  • The Weinstein Co. is being sued by a man who claims to have given $100,000 to charity for a few lines in Scary Movie 5. Michael Trigg asserts the money was handled by Charitybuzz for La Jolla Playhouse and that he believed he'd not only be getting lines in that movie, but also a 20-minute meeting with Harvey Weinstein. Instead, Trigg says he merely got to say "Hey, detective" in another film, Demonic. He's suing for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.

Twitter: @eriqgardner