Celebrity Justice: December 2009 Archives
Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

December 2009 Archives

Michael Jordan Now Suing Two Grocery Stores

Michael Jordan now wants to get $10 million dollars from two separate Chicago grocery stores that he claims used his name without his permission in a grocery store ad. According to Yahoo Sports, the former basketball great is suing because he claims that Dominick's Finer Foods and Jewel Food Stores both used his name in order to drive customers to their stores....but they failed to get his permission when they ran the ads for the commemorative Sports Illustrated issue, "Jordan: A Hall of Fame Career." The Michael Jordan lawsuit rampage begins.

In two separate lawsuits, Mr. Jordan claims that each grocery store is guilty of false endorsement, consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and unfair competition.

Unmarried Parental Rights Star in Nicolas Cage Lawsuit

People Magazine reports that Nicolas Cage has another lawsuit on his hands. This one is filed by his ex-girlfriend Christina Fulton, who also happens to be the mother of his first child.

She is suing Nicolas Cage for fraud, breach of contract and blames the actors for her own financial debts which are estimated to be $1.2 million dollars. The lawsuit brings up the important question of unmarried parents and unmarried parental rights.

Nicolas Cage already has his hands full with his own lawsuit against his former business manager Samuel Levin.We blogged about this lawsuit and a countersuit filed by Mr. Cage's former manager here in Findlaw's Celebrity Justice Blog.

Is Domestic Violence Against Frances Cobain to Blame?

We wrote about how Frances Cobain requested to hand legal guardianship of herself from Courtney Love's possession into the hands of her paternal grandmother and aunt previously in Celebrity Justice. At that point, both sides claimed that it was just a matter of preference with Courtney Love's attorney saying: "Courtney's been clean for years and is perfectly fine. This is simply about Frances preferring to live with her grandmother at this time."

Well it seems that it was not only France Cobain's preference, but may also have been to protect herself from her mother Courtney Love's antics. People reports that domestic violence against Frances Cobain may be the cause of the temporary change in guardianship of the minor. There is a temporary restraining order put in place against her mother Courtney Love. It is claimed that Frances Cobain put the temporary restraining order in place because of "personal problems in the family" and more specifically because of "domestic violence."

The Gosselin Divorce: Is Arbitration Good For You?

As we recently discussed, the much watched Jon & Kate divorce saga ended after use of a divorce arbitrator.

While their story was a sad one, it opens a question for many couple seeking to split:

Is arbitration right for you?

Anna Nicole Smith Death: Boyfriend & Docs, Plead Not Guilty

Anna Nicole's Smith lawyer boyfriend and two doctors were accused of conspiring to illegally provide the late Playboy model with sedatives and opiates before she died.

Earlier this month, they all pleaded not guilty.

The Associated Press reports that the defendants pleaded not guilty to drug conspiracy charges, and a judge has refused to suspend the physicians' medical licenses.

Jon and Kate Divorce: Reality Stars Split after Arbitration Decision

The couple who started out as Reality TV stars of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," will end the year in divorce.

Their divorce is now final.

Randy Quaid and Wife Enter Not Guilty Plea to Fraud Charges

Actor Randy Quaid and his wife Evi appeared in court and entered a not guilty plea to felony charges of defrauding an innkeeper.

The couple skipped previous court hearings without explanation and were wanted fugitives.

According to the Associated Press, the Quaids forfeited a total of $40,000 in bail when they failed to appear for a hearing last week. Warrants were issued for the their arrest after they failed to appear for a recent court hearing at a Santa Barbara courthouse.

The judge however allowed the $40,000 to stand as bail and freed the two defendants.

Ex-Chauffeur Settles Sexual Harassment at Work Claim against Liza Minnelli

The New York Post recently reported that Liza Minnelli has secretly settled a lawsuit in which her former chauffeur M'Hammed Soumayah claimed sexual harassment at work. The lawsuit was filed back in 2004.

This is definitely not a typical sexual harassment at work lawsuit. First, it deals with a male employee who claims that his female employer sexually harassed him. Second, the chauffeur worked with Ms. Minnelli for over a decade. And lastly, Ms. Minnelli had a countersuit against her chauffeur for breaching a confidentiality agreement.

Tom Cruise Sued Over Illegal Wiretapping Claims

Tom Cruise sued over illegal wiretapping claims? E Online reports that the Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise has been sued for $5 million for illegal wiretapping of Michael Davis Sapir. Mr. Sapir claimed that he had a Tom Cruise gay video back in 2001. After he made that claim, Mr. Sapir alleges that Mr. Cruise spied on him by illegal wiretapping with the help of Mr. Cruise's attorney Bert Fields and Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano.

Mr. Sapir, the former editor of Bold magazine was part of a $100 million dollar defamation lawsuit back in June 2001 over the Tom Cruise gay video that Mr. Sapir claimed to have. His magazine publication offered $50,000 to readers who could bring video evidence that Tom Cruise was gay. That lawsuit settled in November 2001, but Mr. Sapir claims that Mr. Cruise engaged in illegal wiretapping of his telephone during the defamation lawsuit.

Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne Faces Jail Time

Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne's days of freedom are winding down and he now faces jail time.

Lil' Wayne is scheduled to go to jail in February in his New York gun case, just days after his next album comes out, the Associated Press reports.

Fugitive from Justice: LA Appeals Court Won't Dismiss Polanski Case

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously observed, the rich are different than you and me. If he had lived a bit longer in L.A., he might have added, and movie people are different than everybody. That difference is written all over the decades long drama that is Roman Polanski's interaction with the American justice system. This week, the latest chapter has been penned by a Los Angeles Court of Appeals, which refused to dismiss the Polanski case.

Preliminary Injunction Stops Jon Gosselin Media Appearances

Have you been wondering why you haven't seen many media appearances by Jon Gosselin lately?

A Maryland judge recently granted a preliminary injunction ordering the reality TV dad to stop making media appearances.

This is the latest to unfold in Jon Gosselin's ongoing legal battles against the TLC cable network.

CNN reports that, TLC won a preliminary injunction against Gosselin that prevents the reality TV dad to stop making media appearances and endorsements the TLC network claim violate his contract.

Country singer Garth Brooks donated money four years ago to his hometown hospital and now he wants it back.

He is suing Integris Canadian Valley Regional hospital in Yukon, Oklahoma for a breach of contract for $500,000, according to CNN.

Jennifer Garner Stalker Arrested for Restraining Order Violation

It was too close for comfort when an accused Jennifer Garner stalker showed up at the nursery school where her daughter is enrolled.

CBS/AP reports, that Steven Burky is in police custody in Los Angeles for an alleged restraining order violation.

McSteamy Steams Up Over McSteamy Video Ruling

Actors Eric Dane (known infamously as McSteamy from the ABC show Grey's Anatomy) and Rebecca Gayheart (the Noxzema girl from the 1990s) lost the right to statutory damages for copyright infringement over the infamous McSteamy video that features both of them in a threesome situation with Kari Ann Peniche. However, there is no sex in the clip. Just a lot of ahem, anatomy. 

According to Mediapost, the couple filed lawsuit in federal court because Gawker posted a clip of them "partially and sometimes fully disrobed". The lawsuit alleges that there is copyright infringement. However, U.S. District Court Judge George Wu ruled that since the couple failed to register the copyright to the video before they commenced the lawsuit. Statutory damages for copyright infringement can range from $750-$150,000 per copyright violation.

Wanted Fugitives: Randy Quaid, Wife Fail to Make Court Appearances

The actor Randy Quaid and his wife are wanted fugitives on charges related to allegedly skipping out on a $10,000 luxury hotel bill.

That sounds like a scene right out of a Hollywood movie -- but unfortunately for actor Randy Quaid and his wife Evi, it's reality.

Blagojevich Attorney Would Love to Have Obama Testify at Trial

File this one under -- it's just not gonna happen. In partial order of importance, President Obama is currently coping with heathcare reform, global warming treaties, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and somewhere way down the list, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Makes for a quite full day at the White House.

Michael Jackson Estate: Legal Team Seeks Executor Fees

It's a been a tough job managing Michael Jackson's millions.

Now, the legal team and other administrators handling the King of Pop's affairs after death are seeking estate executor fees.

The legal team and administrators say they want to be paid for their work overseeing the Michael Jackson estate.

Cops Arrest Michael Lohan, Charged with Criminal Contempt

As previously discussed, Lindsay Lohan's father has been tied up in the TLC  lawsuit against Jon Gosselin, but he now faces legal troubles of his own.

Michael Lohan was arrested and charged with criminal contempt, for allegedly violating an order of protection, the Associated Press reports.

Court Tells Frances Cobain: To Grandmother's House You Go

Courtney Love's daughter Frances Cobain will now have to live with her paternal grandmother Wendy 'O Connor and her paternal aunt Kimberly Dawn Cobain. Frances Bean Cobain is the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.   

Reuters reports that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has granted temporary custody of the minor to the two legal guardians, but the reasons for the decision are not yet known for sure. There has certainly been some speculation, though.  

According to CNN, Geraldine Wyle, an attorney for O'Connor and Cobain, has verified that this information is true and that the order for temporary custody of Frances Cobain was a "private family matter."

Update: Erin Andrews's Stalker Pleads Guilty

The man charged with stalking ESPN reporter Erin Andrews has become famous in his own right for his peephole activities in hotel rooms across the country. And now America's most famous stalker is pleading guilty to the charges which brought him into the spotlight. In a document filed last Thursday, Michael David Barrett, 48, plead guilty to a federal interstate stalking law charge which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. His plea will be officially entered on December 15th.

John Stamos Target of Alleged Extortion Plot by a Michigan Couple

Actor John Stamos, star of "Full House" was the target of a failed extortion plot by a Michigan couple.

According to the Associated Press, the pair allegedly tried to blackmail him by threatening to sell photos of the actor to tabloid magazines unless he paid them $680,000.

Jesse James and Sandra Bullock Win Full Custody of Child

According to CBS News, Jesse James and Sandra Bullock have won full custody of child Sunny. This particular legal fight was definitely not sunny.

As we wrote about previously in Celebrity Justice, Sunny's mother (and Jesse James' ex-wife) Janine Lindemulder claimed that Ms. Bullock was trying to take away her daughter on ABC's Good Morning America.  

Sandra Bullock sent a letter to the California family court that claimed that Ms. Lindemulder was an "unfit" mother. Ms. Lindemulder has a less than stellar reputation as a porn star. Ms. Lindemulder served time in jail for tax evasion for failing to pay taxes in excess of $200,000. Ms. Bullock also protested that Ms. Lindemulder is married to a convicted felon.

The Jackson Will: Father Joe's Expense Allowance Request Put on Hold

Joe Jackson may be hurting for cash.

But the judge says it will be a while longer before another possible payday rolls around. The judge delayed a hearing for his expense allowance from the King of Pop's estate until January.

Hit the Road Mark: Jenny Sanford Files For Divorce

Soon to be ex-wife Jenny Sanford filed for divorce from South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. The New York Daily News reports that Jenny Sanford filed for divorce after many failed attempts at reconciliation with her estranged husband. The Sanford divorce is definitely not a surprise to many people.

The New York Daily News quotes her released statement as saying, "This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family."

As a result of the affair being made public, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford gave a news conference where he called his Argentinian mistress Maria Belen Chapur his "soul mate". After he said that, he claimed that he wanted to reconcile with Jenny Sanford and save their marriage. He is quoted by the New York Daily News as saying, "I want to take full responsibility for the moral failure that led us to this tragic point. Jenny is a great person, and has been a remarkable wife, mother and First Lady."

British Court Blocks Publishing Possible Nude Photos of Tiger Woods

If possible nude photos of Tiger Woods exisit, they won't be featured in any British tabloids.

According to CNN, the golf legend's lawyers in Britan have secured an injunction from the High Court in London prohibiting the publication of pictures of him taken or obtained in certain circumstances.

Nicky Hilton's House Burglarized in Alleged Celebrity Bling Ring

Nicky Hilton's Hollywood Hills house was the latest property burglarized in the area.

According to KTLA.com, Hilton reported that someone broke in and stole a laptop computer and some Lalique crystal.

Jon Beason Slapped With Assault & Battery Lawsuit

NFL player for the Carolina Panthers Jon Beason, was sued for assault & battery by a fan who claims that Mr. Beason attacked him in a stripclub in Atlanta called the Uptown Cabaret.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the fan, Mr. Gregory C. Frye, alleges that Mr. Beason got into an altercation with him over the fact that Mr. Frye told another Panthers player (Dante Rosario) that he had seen Mr. Beason do lines of cocaine with a girl.

Mr. Frye claims that shortly after he told this to Mr. Rosario, Mr. Beason's body guard came up to him and said, "Whatever you said about Beason, he's really pissed. You need to go talk to him." When Mr. Frye attempted to talk to Mr. Beason, Mr. Frye claims that Mr. Beason punched and kicked him which resulted in a crushed nasal cavity, a facial fracture, and swelling on the left side of his head.

Michael Lohan Deposed in Jon Gosselin Lawsuit with TLC

Former buddy Michael Lohan reportedly told everything he knows to TLC about former reality television star Jon Gosselin (Jon and Kate Plus 8). The Jon Gosselin lawsuit centers around a possible breach of contract by Mr. Gosselin because of Jon Gosselin cheating on his wife Kate Gosselin.

Initially, TLC informed Gosselin that he was violating the morals clause of the his contract with TLC through his affairs, erratic behavior, and possible mismanagement of family finances.

According to MSNBC, Michael Lohan predicts that Mr. Gosselin will have a hard time winning the breach of contract lawsuit that TLC has against him. Mr. Lohan was deposed by TLC in their lawsuit against Mr. Gosselin. He told news outlets shortly after that deposition that TLC lawyers asked him everything about Mr. Gosselin.

Ron Livingston Wikipedia Suit: Is Calling Someone Gay Defamation?

Actor Ron Livingston is having a rough time of it. No, not because he has a job he hates and has to live in a cubicle all day. That's you. He's a famous actor. And, as we know all too well, fame has its downside (right Britney, Tiger?). No, Ron's problem is that someone keeps editing the Ron Livingston Wikipedia page to say that he is gay. According to Livingston, he's not. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Joe Francis Update: Judge Must Watch Girls Gone Wild Footage

Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis finds himself again at the center of courtroom drama.

A Florida judge wants footage to be turned over to the court so he can watch Girls Gone Wild footage at the center of a lawsuit filed last year. The judge needs to watch the Girls Gone Wild footage in order to decide on the defendant's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the AP reported.

Man Arrested for Throwing Tomatoes at Palin Book Signing

Sarah Palin's book signing at Minnesota's Mall of America almost went off without a hitch.

That was until Jeremy Olson was arrested for throwing tomatoes at the former Republican vice presidential candidate during her book signing.

Actor James Woods Settles Suit for Wrongful Death of Brother

Actor James Woods just needed to hear an apology from Kent Hospital in Rhode Island where his brother, Michael Woods, died of a heart attack in an ER.

NBC reports that actor James Woods settled a lawsuit for wrongful death on behalf of his brother Michael Woods' family. AP reports that James Woods claims that when Michael Woods came into the hospital with a sore throat and vomiting, the hospital was negligent and that the negligence resulted in his brother's death.

So, what exacly is wrongful death?

Jay vs Spot of Tea: Artists Sue over Music Royalties

Jay-Z certainly claims its a hard knock life, but he also seems to be giving out some hard knocks too. After the assault charges against bouncers of his 40/40 nightclub were announced, another lawsuit involving the Jigga Man was recently announced. This lawsuit from Jay-Z deals with copyright licensing.  

The Examiner reports that Jay-Z and five other artists who are part of Universal Music Group are suing Spot of Tea in Mobile, Alabama. (Spot of Tea runs Club Insanity at night.) The lawsuit is part of a slew of lawsuits filed against small businesses across the country claiming copyright infringement by Universal. The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court in Alabama.

The complaint, which you can read here details six causes of action for copyright infringement. It alleges that despite getting notice for playing copyrighted music from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), that the tea shop/nightclub continued to play the infringing music. Jay-Z is suing because he claims that the tea shop played Rihanna's song Umbrella without Universal Music Group's permission.

I'm Not Ready to Make Nice: Dixie Chicks' Libel Suit Dismissed

The Dixie Chicks, the band famous for its political songs like "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice," won (at least this round) of a libel suit brought by an Arkansas man who claimed that a letter on the band's website blamed him for the murder of his stepson and two of his friends back in 1993. Three teenagers known as The Memphis Three were convicted of the crime.

AP reports that U.S. District Judge Brian Miller ruled that singer Natalie Maines can not be sued for libel because she based her statements on legal documents that she believed were true.

A Cozy Little Place in Gstaad: Polanski House Arrest Begins

The Old Testament says, there is no peace for the wicked. Unless, of course they happen to have an nice chalet in Gstaad and the support of the President of France. Such is the luck of acclaimed and accursed film director Roman Polanski, released from jail today to begin his house arrest, Swiss chalet style.

Et Tu Brüno? Man Deemed "Terrorist" in Film Files Libel Lawsuit

According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Ayman Abu Aita, the Palestinian Arab featured as a "terroist" in Sacha Baron Cohen's movie Brüno has sued NBC Universal and Sacha Baron Cohen for libel because. Why? Instaed of being a "terrorist" or member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, he says he's a peace loving grocer.

Update: No Sex in J Lo "Sex Tape," but It's Out of Ojani Noa Project

The steamy new film that allegedly included video footage showing J. Lo in revealing lack of clothing and in sexual situations is mainly a bunch of hype.

"There wasn't anything close to sex in it," Lopez's attorney John Lavely told People. "We never alleged that. But it's still private and personal to my client.

Jon Gosselin Tape Leaked: When May You Record Conversations?

Jon Gosselin had a lot to say about the TLC network.

He ranted for about four minutes about how the network took advantage of him when he signed an exclusivity clause in his contract and how TLC stole money owed to his children.

The Gosselin tape sounds like yet more juicy gossip to add to the TV reality star's rumor mill.

It also brings up the often asked question: when may you record conversations? 

Tiger Woods Careless Driving Ticket, No Criminal Charges

The New York Times reports that the Florida Highway Patrol will not criminally charge the famous golfer Tiger Woods for anything more than a citation for careless driving. The Florida Highway Patrol also announced that the evidence was not conducive to further investigation. They also noted that no claims of domestic abuse were made. The Tiger Woods drama started when he crashed his car into a fire hydrant and tree in front of his estate in the wee hours of the morning this past Friday. The Tiger Woods careless driving ticket puts an end to speculation of DUI or domestic violence charges coming into play.

As we wrote about earlier in Celebrity Justice, there were rumors of domestic abuse, prescription pain medication, and other woman drama swirling around the incident. When police sought his hospital records, rumors of possible charges grew.