A New York judge has dismissed the "Johnny Bananas" lawsuit brought by MTV reality star John Devenanzio. Nicknamed Johnny Bananas, he had alleged that HBO's Entourage improperly gave his name to a fake cartoon gorilla played by Kevin Dillon's character.
He sued, further claiming that the faux gorilla, which happens to look remarkably like Dillon, has caused him "tremendous emotional distress." He also suffered from "great mental anguish and pain."
HBO fought the suit and seems to have won, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Its lawyers argued that nicknames are not protected by New York law and that there was no connection between the fake show and the man.
However, the judge tossed the suit for other reasons. Devenanzio didn't file the "Johnny Bananas" lawsuit until 14 months after the episode's original air date. There's a one year statute of limitations in New York on emotional distress claims, notes the celebrity website.
Though the reality star could arguably re-file should the episode air again, the judge warned him not to. He went on to state that cartoon "does not constitute atrocious, indecent or utterly despicable conduct meeting the requirements for an intentional emotional distress claim."
So it seems that, if there are any lessons to be learned from the "Johnny Bananas" lawsuit they would be that (1) you should always file your lawsuits in a timely manner, and (2) reality stars should stop being big babies.
- Judge to Entourage Plaintiff Johnny Bananas: You Slipped Up (FishbowlLA)
- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (FindLaw)
- Invasion of Privacy (FindLaw)