Celebrity Justice: February 2010 Archives
Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

February 2010 Archives

Breach of Contract Lawsuit: Fitness Trainers Sue Oprah's Harpo, Inc.

To stay fabulous and fit, Oprah hired a husband and wife team of trainers.

Dina Castillo and Frank Nunez were asked create a customized fitness program for Oprah and her employees. They were even invited to participate in an Oprah Radio XM program hosted by Winfrey's former personal trainer Bob Green.

The couple claims they helped the talk show queen feel the burn, but her company refused to pay them for the months of training work they had done.

A man who had been beaten unconscious by a cast member of Jersey Shore lost his court bid to have the DVD sale of that episode blocked. 

Stephen Izzo Jr., 27, was beaten on-air by a cast member of the MTV show "Jersey Shore."  The show, similar to MTV's The Real World, followed a group of young roommates in a Seaside Heights house. The show followed their interaction in the community, including one night at a nightclub where Ronnie Ortiz punched Izzo in the back of his head, rendering him unconscious.  In his lawsuit, Izzo claims that he was assaulted without any provocation.

Ortiz was arrested after the assault.

Actor Sean Penn Charged with Battery and Vandalism

Over the years, Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn has had many brawls with the paparazzi -- most notably during the time when he was dating Madonna.

His latest altercation however, happened in Brentwood, California where Penn allegedly attacked a photographer and broke his camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. The incident occurred outside the Brentwood Country Mart in October officials said.

Child Protective Services Pay Charlie Sheen Home Visit

The home visit by child services workers to Charlie Sheen was routine, according to his publicist.

The Associated Press reports, the actor is facing criminal charges over a domestic dispute. The recent visit by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to Charlie Sheen's home was apparently connected to the case.

Sheen's attorney Stan Rosenfield said it was a scheduled, procedural visit.

Bankruptcy: Personal Items of Suge Knight Auctioned Off

Personal items including a photo of Suge Knight, former CEO of Death Row Records and late rap star Tupac Shakur were auctioned off to pay for storage bills.

According the Wall Street Journal, hip-hop mogul Marion "Suge" Knight faces millions of dollars in debt and filed for bankruptcy back in 2006.

Since then, the rap boss has remained financially strapped.

Conejo Valley Moving & Storage recently held an auction to recoup some of the several thousand dollars owed for storing the items.

Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Although Rap Super Star Lil' Wayne is scheduled for sentencing next month and possibly headed off to prison to serve a year for gun possession, his legal woes are still mounting.

Now, the prison bound rap super star is facing a  $2.5 million copyright infringement lawsuit.

According to MTV, he is being sued over royalties from his 2008 song Mrs. Officer. The song was featured on his top selling album Tha Carter III.

Judge: Joe Jackson Can Review Son's Hospital Records

Joe Jackson may be one step closer to obtaining a monthly stipend from the King of Pop's estate.

According to the Associated Press, a judge has ruled that Joe Jacskon can review receive some hospital records related to his superstar son's death.

JK Rowling Must Fend off Wizarding Plagiarism Attack

Well, it's hardly on the scale of an assault from Voldemort, but it may be that J.K. Rowling is wishing she could fend off a this attack with a few swipes of a magic wand. According to a London Times Online report on February, 18, Rowling has been added to a suit, originally filed last year, accusing her of plagiarism. That is correct, according to the estate of the late author, Adrian Jacobs, Rowling may not be Harry's "onlie begetter."

Bristol Palin Seeks Financial Info from Levi Johnston

His Playgirl magazine shoot, pistachio commercials and other media deals are among Levi Johnston's many moneymakers.

But exactly how much cash is the father to former Gov. Sarah Palin's grandchild raking in these days?

His ex-fiancĂ© Bristol Palin wants to know and is seeking his financial info.

According to the Associated Press, her lawyer is seeking permission to subpoena media outlets to determine how much he has made in order to calculate an appropriate level of child support.

In an attempt to shield Britney Spears' two sons from the zeal of the paparazzi, Britney's lawyers have made a motion to the court to seal the documents containing sensitive information about the boys. 

Spears' attorneys, Geraldine Wyle and Jeryll Cohen, have shown concern for the two boys, Sean Preston and Jayden James, stating that the high profile nature of Britney's celebrity would expose the confidential medical information to the masses -- and potentially could garner a high price. 

According to TMZ, Spears' attorneys state in the court documents: "A Google search for Ms. Spears' name yields 54,300,000 hits.... Photographs and personal information, particular information of a highly confidential nature (such as personal medical information of Ms. Spears and her children), can potentially reap thousands if not millions of dollars."

Biggest Lawsuit III: Two More Suits Gain on Jillian Michaels

So many lawsuits, so little time. As noted in a prior post, trainer Jillian Michaels has been sued over her endorsement of a diet pill that the original plaintiff (in a suit seeking class action status) claims did not work. An additional suit, nearly identical to the first, was filed February 11, by a second plaintiff, Stephanie Creer. Now comes a third lawsuit against Michaels, filed by Kathy Hensley on February 16, also in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Jon & TLC: Settlement Reached

The Jon and Kate saga might finally be coming to an end. 

The fifteen minutes of fame have long expired for Jon and Kate, but the minutes turned to hours which subsequently turned into days, weeks and months in the wake of their celebrity divorce. 

Then came the legal battles between Jon Gosselin and the station that gave them their break, The Learning Channel (TLC).  Now, after several months of fighting TLC, there seems to be evidence of a settlement reached between the parties.

The Birther-Queen may be losing a lot more than her marbles.

She might be losing her license to practice law. On February 26, Orly Taitz is scheduled to appear before the California State Bar.

Orly Taitz, an online law-school graduate, is the heavily festooned woman behind the movement to dethrone President Barack Obama, claiming that President Obama was not born in the United States. Taitz was reprimanded by a Georgia judge during a lawsuit to prevent her client from being deployed in the military, justifying that Obama was not a valid Commander-in-Chief. In his 43-page ruling, Judge Clay Land cited and fined Orly Taitz for misconduct under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rap Producer Dr. Dre Sues Death Row Records for Royalties

Rap producer Dr. Dre's debut solo studio album, "The Chronic" was a hit and sold more than three million copies.

But since the release of a new version of his iconic album, Dr. Dre claims he has not pocketed any of the royalties.

Anna Nicole Smith Death: Trial Date Set for Boyfriend & Docs

A trial date was finally set for the boyfriend and doctors accused of conspiring to illegally provide the late Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith with sedatives and opiates before she died.

Superior Court Judge David Wesley scheduled the trial for the three defendants for Aug. 4, the Associated Press recently reported.

Torn Still Tearing it Up: Arrested for Burglary at 78

Once a bad boy, always a... well, the acts speak for themselves in this case. Actor Rip Torn, known and loved for his eccentricity in the New England town of Salisbury, Conn., took his bad boy image a few steps too far and wound up in court last week. A well known character actor and apparently, a well known character around town, Torn had a reputation for hittn' the bars hard. That lead to an incident that Rip's reps explain was actually a case of mistaken identity.

The Biggest Lawsuit: Jillian Michaels Sued Over Diet Pills

Of course you can lose all the weight you want by taking a pill. That's why the contestants on NBC's successful show, The Biggest Loser, sweat, cry, crawl, run, bleed...you get the picture. So why is mega-trainer Jillian Michaels of Loser fame touting a diet pill? It should come as no surprise to anyone who has tried to lose a few pounds that Ms. Michaels and the companies behind the miracle pill "Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control" are being sued in a California court for false advertising, unfair and deceptive business practices  ... you get the picture.

Hue Hefner Sued By Playboy Shareholder

As founder of Playboy Magazine, Hue Hefner has been afforded a lavish lifestyle, with a fancy mansion and girlfriends at his side.

But a class action lawsuit filed by a Playboy shareholder may force Hefner to give up the good life.

According to Courthouse News Service, a shareholder alleges that Hefner sabotaged two potential deals in the last six months to sell the company at a decent price, while refusing to give up his extravagant lifestyle.

Dental Work Postpones Sentence of Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne

The time came for Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne to report to prison and serve a yearlong sentence for gun possession. But that sentence was put on temporary hold while the rapper gets some dental work done.

According to the New York Times, a Manhattan judge agreed to put off Lil' Wayne's sentencing until March 2, at the latest, so that the rapper could have dental surgery. His lawyer said that it was a "medical situation" which could not have been remedied earlier, because his dentist had been abroad performing charity work.

Lil' Wayne's final pre-incarceration performance was at the Grammy awards with rappers Drake and Eminem.

It will be quite some time before the New Orleans rapper takes the stage again.

Love's Labour's Litigated: Will Edwards Sue for Alienation of Affection?

You can only do this in seven states, including North Carolina; and no, it's not what you're thinking. We will now discuss a rather musty old law, a "vestige[] of legal codes that also prohibited divorce and criminalized premarital sex," that might just come back into fashion in the state of N.C.: alienation of affection. According to a report today by ABC News, Elizabeth Edwards (as if she hasn't been through enough) is threatening to bring a suit for alienation of affection against her husband's former aide de camp, Andrew Young.

Perez Hilton & Black Eyed Peas Manager Settle Battery Suit

Looks like celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and the Black Eyes Peas manager are ready to put an incident involving alleged battery at a Toronto night club behind them.

They have settled a civil lawsuit for battery and emotional distress.

Joe Francis SLAPP Suit Dismissed By Judge

Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis is on the losing side of a legal in his lawsuit against Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole.

In a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) hearing tied to the Jayde Nicole vs. Joe Francis dispute, a judge has thrown out part of Francis' claim.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Francis' defamation claim stemmed from Playboy model Jayde Nicole claiming Francis punched her. Francis claimed the woman libeled and slandered him, as well as painted him in a false light.

His complaint was dismissed by Judge Mark V. Mooney of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The judge found that Jayde Nicole's comment were protected speech as it related to the topic of Francis objectifying and exploiting young women.

Brangelina Seek Redress In Celeb Friendly English Courts

On January 24, the UK newspaper published a story about celebrity couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (a.k.a. Brangelina). The story claimed the couple had agreed to separate.  It even went so far as to say they'd consulted a lawyer who helped them reach a settlement on the division of joint assets and custody of their six children.

This week, however, Brangelina commenced legal proceedings against the paper's owners, , for invasion of privacy. Keith Schilling of , the couple's London lawyers, said:

Born to Sue: Did the Boss Sue a Bar Over Royalties?

What happens when the quintessential working class underdog becomes the rich and powerful star? Many, many things, but among them this: It was widely reported last week that The Boss, a.k.a. Bruce Springsteen, sued a pub for failure to pay public performance royalties when a band performing there in 2008 played two of his songs.

Strong Arm of the Law: Guard to Help Retrieve Edwards Sex Tape

Please, follow along with the bouncing ball: the scandal, the book, the tape, the suit. This next episode in the never ending carnival ride that is the John Edwards sex scandal doesn't even directly include him; we are now more concerned with the supporting players, namely his former aid and tell-all author Andrew Young and his wife Cheri, who are being sued over custody (forgive the term) of the alleged sex tape featuring everyone's favorite ex-presidential candidate and his ex-paramour.

Big Ruling Down Under: Men At Work Must Pay for Song

And they say the '60's were crazy. So how is it that during the trillion times the mega-hit Land Down Under by the Australian group Men At Work was played during the '80's nobody noticed that the central flute riff in the song sounded suspiciously like the Aussie "folk" favorite Kookaburra? Really, what were we all doing? 

Charlie Sheen: Actor Gets Felony Charge over Domestic Dispute

Actor Charlie Sheen has been charged over the alleged domestic dispute involving his wife on Christmas Day.

Despite efforts by Sheen and his wife Brooke Mueller to put this incident behind them and reconcile, the district attorney's office still filed charges.

Sheen was charged on felony menacing, third degree assault and criminal mischief, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After long delays, criminal charges were filed against Dr. Conrad Murray in connection to the death of singer Michael Jackson.

As reported by the AP, Murray was charged today with involuntary manslaughter. He entered a plea of not guilty. His bail was set at $75,000 which is three times the standard for involuntary manslaughter cases.

The criminal charges can be read at FindLaw's Courtside

The cardiologist to the King of Pop, Murray turned himself in at a courthouse, CNN reports. His appearance in court is the culmination of a seven-month investigation by police and federal agents.

Robin Williams' Breach of Contract Lawsuit Tossed Out

A judge tossed out a $6 million breach of contract lawsuit by Robin Williams.

The lawsuit against Gold Circle Films for a film that was never made was dismissed.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the case stems back to 2008, when Williams and Gold Circle were on the verge of to signing a contract for a film project when it was shelved. Actor Robin Williams was hired to star in the action-comedy.

Michael Jackson Estate: Executors to Get Compensation

The two men administering Michael Jackson's estate will receive some compensation, a judge agreed.

Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain will get a cut of the profits minus several sizable assets.

According to the Associated Press, Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff approved the arrangement providing each of them with five percent of the estate's profits, minus earnings from the recent "This Is It" movie and Jackson's interest in a lucrative Sony-ATV music catalog.

Dr. Conrad Murray Plans to Surrender to Authorities

The white flag may be going up soon for Michael Jackson's physician, who is negotiating his surrender to authorities, his attorney said.

In the next day, Dr. Conrad Murray is expected to be charged in connection with the pop singer's death but there has been no agreement on the specifics of his surrender yet, the Associated Press reports. 

Trigger Happy? Jon Cryer Blames Ex for Death Threats

Just when you thought that Charlie Sheen was the only one in Two and A Half Men that pops up in the news, his co-star steals some of the limelight. According to CBS News, Jon Cryer is claiming that he has been on the receiving end of some death threats. The death threats were phoned to the set of his television show and left him fearing for his life. The worst part? Jon Cryer thinks that the person behind the death threats is his ex-wife Sarah Trigger.

He claims that Ms. Trigger hired a hit man to kill him. CBS News reports that the Jon Cryer and Sarah Trigger had a very difficult divorce and are involved in a messy custody battle. Mr. Cryer has taken these death threats very seriously and even had the FBI investigate.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Sues Sports Film Production Company

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's independent film about post-WWI black culture and the Harlem Renaissance will not be showcased at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

The film based on the basketball legend's 2007 book "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance" was not completed in time to be considered for Sundance. The annual festival is the largest showcase of independent cinema.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is holding a New York sports film production company largely responsible for missing the deadline.

Not the Family Way: Sly Stone Sues Ex-Manager

It is never a pleasant thing to hear that your musical heroes have fallen on hard times. And such is the case for Sly Stone, of the 70's funk band Sly and the Family Stone, who the New York Times reports these days must rely on Social Security to get by. Sly has turned to a tried and true celebrity passtime: suing your business manager.