Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

December 2014 Archives

Paul Walker's Dad Files $1.8M Claim Against Crash Driver's Estate

Paul Walker Sr., father of the late actor Paul Walker, has filed a $1.8 million claim against the estate of Roger Rodas, the man who drove the car in which Walker was killed in late 2013.

The claim involves exotic cars that Walker's family claims were either wholly or partially owned by the late actor but have remained in the possession of Rodas' estate, reports Los Angeles' KCBS-TV. Rodas, who was also killed in the crash, was the CEO of Always Evolving, an exotic car shop owned by Walker.

The claim is the latest legal dispute in the wake of the "Fast & Furious" actor's 2013 death.

Driver in J.Lo's Hit-and-Run Facing DUI Charges: Report

The driver alleged to have drunkenly smashed into "Jenny From the Block" may be heading for a Southern California cell block.

TMZ reports that the L.A. County District Attorney's office is charging Robert John Reitz with two misdemeanor counts of DUI for allegedly rear-ending Jennifer Lopez in September. Prosecutors state that Reitz's blood alcohol concentration was nearly twice the legal limit, and he may be facing six months in jail if convicted.

What else should J.Lo fans know about this case?

The Top 10 Celebrity Justice Stories of 2014

Celebrities: They're just like us! They break the law, they sue each other!

By virtue of their excessive wealth and often even more excessive lifestyles, celebrities rarely fail to generate interesting legal headlines. Likewise the entertainment industry as a whole: There's almost never a shortage of lawsuits, legal intrigue, or brewing scandal when movies, music, and television are involved.

So what were 2014's hottest celeb-related legal stories? Here are this year's 10 most popular stories from FindLaw's Celebrity Justice blog:

Talent Agency ICM Partners Settles Unpaid Intern Lawsuit

ICM Partners have settled a lawsuit brought by two former interns, putting to rest claims in federal court that the interns performed the jobs of paid employees.

The two interns claimed that they were unpaid, but didn't actually receive any educational instruction while they were with ICM. Their claims are similar to various other unpaid intern suits in the entertainment industry, and Deadline reports that the ex-interns' attorneys handled claims against Fox Searchlight and NBCUniversal as well.

So how did this suit settle before Christmas?

Octavia Spencer Wins Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Involving Tweets

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer has prevailed in the wrongful termination lawsuit she filed against a company that ended her endorsement deal over a disputed Twitter hashtag.

Spencer was granted a default judgment against Sensa Products in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The judge ordered Sensa, a now-defunct maker of weight loss products, to pay $940,000 in damages to Spencer, who won an Oscar in 2012 for her role as Minny in the film "The Help."

What led to Spencer's latest win, this time in a court of law?

Dolly Parton's Dollywood Sued Over Fall, Brain Injury

Dolly Parton may be closer to a "Hard Candy Christmas" after dealing with a recent injury suit over Dollywood.

Tedi and Derryl Brown had a not-so-great time at the Tennessee-based, Parton-themed amusement park, especially after Tedi fell from a ride suffering broken bones and brain damage. TMZ reports that the couple is suing the park for $475,000 in damages.

Is something rotten in Dollywood?

'Citizenfour' Lawsuit Seeks Constructive Trust Over Profits: Report

A retired U.S. Navy officer and former Secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking a constructive trust over profits made by the Edward Snowden documentary "Citizenfour."

The suit by Horace Edwards names Snowden, "Citizenfour" director Laura Poitras, and The Weinstein Company, among others, as defendants, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit seeks to establish the constructive trust "on behalf of the American people" in order to "redress unjust enrichment" from the defendants' alleged misuse of classified government information.

What does a constructive trust do and how would it work in this case?

'7th Heaven's' Stephen Collins Responds to Molestation Allegations

Stephen Collins, who played the minister/father of the family on the WB's "7th Heaven," had an interesting response to allegations that he had sexual contact with underage girls.

In an interview that airs tonight on ABC's "20/20," Collins spoke with Katie Couric about multiple incidents in which he exposed himself to a young woman in 1973. This revelation joins an audio recording of Collins leaked by TMZ two months ago, describing an incident in which Collins admits to molesting three girls.

Based on these statements, will Collins find himself in court or behind bars?

Is Sony Trying to Escape Liability by Dropping 'The Interview'?

The terrorists have won. At least according to the Internet hordes decrying Sony's move to drop the release of "The Interview" on Christmas Day.

It certainly didn't help that theater chains across the country were refusing to show the comedic tale about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but there may also have been a legal motive. As The New York Times reports, lawsuits filed after the theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, may have set the stage for Sony's decision.

Could Sony be hedging its legal bets by cancelling "The Interview?"

Ex-Sony Employees Sue Over Leaked Emails

Sony Pictures has been hit with multiple lawsuits related to the massive data breach recently suffered by the company.

On Monday, the company was sued by two former employees who claimed that they had personal information such as Social Security numbers and salary history made public as a result of the hack of Sony's computer networks last month, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Two more former Sony employees filed suit on Tuesday, seeking recovery for damages caused by the leak of their private information. Both lawsuits seek class action status for all those similarly affected by the data breach.

What does the latest lawsuit allege that Sony did wrong?

Roman Polanski's Attorneys Want Sex Abuse Case Dismissed

Notorious filmmaker Roman Polanski might come back to the United States, if his attorneys are successful in getting his decades-old sex abuse case dropped.

In case you missed it, Roman Polanski was charged in 1977 of raping a 13-year-old during a photo shoot. CBS Los Angeles reports that Polanski had agreed to plead guilty to one count of statutory rape, but he fled the country the night before his sentencing in 1978.

Polanski has been living in Europe ever since, but will this new legal move allow him to come back?

Tracy Morgan's Walmart Suit Can Move Forward: Judge

A federal court judge ruled on Friday that comedian Tracy Morgan can move forward with a lawsuit against retailer Walmart for injuries Morgan suffered in a fatal crash earlier this year.

The ruling came after Kevin Roper -- the driver of the Walmart truck that slammed into Morgan's tour bus on the New Jersey turnpike -- had filed a motion asking the court to delay Morgan's lawsuit, reports the Associated Press.

Roper is not named as a defendant in Morgan's lawsuit. However, he had argued that the lawsuit may affect his criminal case stemming from the crash.

Russian Guy From Every Sitcom Ever Charged With Killing Rabbit

Some call it typecasting. Some call it being a bit player. Dimitri Diatchenko calls it a career.

He's not a household name, but you've probably seen him on television or in a movie, or heard his voice in a video game. Diatchenko is the guy they call when they need a Boris, Yuri, or Olag -- the "big muscular Russian gangster" archetype.

His credits include "2 Broke Girls," "How I Met Your Mother," "Sons of Anarchy," and on the silver screen, "G.I. Jane" and that "Indiana Jones" sequel that we'd rather not remember. His most recent role, however, is a little less prestigious: According to police, he re-enacted a scene from the 1987 film "Fatal Attraction" by skinning and eating his ex-lover's pet rabbit, reports The New York Daily News.

Should Floyd Mayweather Have Called Cops About Murder/Suicide?

Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather allegedly heard rapper Earl Hayes shooting his wife Stephanie Moseley and himself while on a FaceTime call on his phone.

TMZ reports that Mayweather confirmed these details to Los Angeles police officers in an interview Wednesday, though the murder/suicide had occurred Monday morning. Mayweather told the LAPD that Hayes called him that morning "trying to say goodbye," but it's unclear whether Mayweather ever reached out to police.

After witnessing (or at least hearing) a murder/suicide, did Mayweather have to call the cops?

Jay-Z Gets Single-Syllable Sample Lawsuit Dismissed

A lawsuit that accused rapper Jay-Z of unlawfully sampling a single syllable from an obscure funk record was dismissed in federal court on Monday.

The lawsuit was filed by record company TufAmerica, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The company holds the copyright for the 1969 recording of "Hook and Sling - Part I" by Eddie Bo. In its lawsuit, TufAmerica alleges that Jay-Z had unlawfully sampled an instance of Eddie Bo saying "Oh" from "Hook and Sling - Part I" 42 times in the background of the rapper's 2009 Grammy-winning single "Run This Town," which also featured Kanye West and Rihanna.

What did the judge have to say about the lawsuit?

Ohio Model Sues After Lingerie Pics Used as Porn

Ohio model Nicole Forni is suing after her lingerie photos were sold, allegedly without her consent, and wound up being used for a variety of pornographic products.

Forni, 23, signed up for an admittedly racy lingerie shoot with photographer Joshua Resnick, but only on the promise that the titillating pics not be used in an "adult-oriented, pornographic, or obscene manner." The New York Post reports that Forni was shocked to find her picture on the cover of erotica e-books and "other adult-photo companies'" websites.

Forni can't wrench her photo back from the gaping maw of the Internet, so what is she hoping to gain?

Teresa Giudice Sues Lawyer for $5M, Alleging Malpractice

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice has filed a $5 million lawsuit against her former attorney alleging malpractice.

The lawsuit comes after Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud, reports the New York Daily News. The prison sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Giudice later claimed she didn't understand the plea deal meant she would have to go to prison.

What's behind the latest twist in this ongoing celebrity legal drama?

Bill Cosby's Lawsuit Response: 5 Things You Should Know

Comedian Bill Cosby has responded to a lawsuit filed against him earlier this week that alleged he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1974.

Calling the allegations "patently false," Cosby filed his response to the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, reports the Los Angeles Times. In addition to challenging the factual basis of the allegations made in the lawsuit, Cosby also claims that the lawsuit should be barred by the statute of limitations.

What's the story behind the lawsuit and Cosby's response? Here are five things you should know:

Facebook Threat to Kill 'Honey Boo Boo's' Mama June Leads to Arrest

Mama June of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" allegedly received death threats on her Facebook page by a man who faces felony charges as a result.

Andrew Kurt Summers turned himself to McIntyre, Georgia, police on Monday after officers obtained a warrant for his arrest, TMZ reports. June (legally June Thompson) claims that Summers threatened to "shoot both her and Pumpkin" (the nickname for June's 14-year-old daughter Lauryn Thompson.)

When Facebook death threats and reality TV collide, what's the legal result?

After Wedding, Snooki's New Husband Pleads Guilty to DUI

After getting married to "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi over the weekend, Jionni LaValle was in court Monday facing a DUI charge.

LaValle was arrested August 7 and charged with driving under the influence, reports E! Online. In court on Monday, LaValle pleaded guilty to DUI in exchange for the dismissal of reckless driving and unsafe lane change charges he was also facing.

What sort of criminal penalties is the newly minted Mr. Snooki now facing?

Anti-Semitic Man Threatens Paris Hilton, Gets Tracked by LAPD

Paris Hilton and her father have been the subject of threats by one man who (1) thinks Paris Hilton is Jewish and (2) says he wants to kill her.

TMZ reports that the anti-Semitic man allegedly posted death threats against the young heiress on social media, including telling her father Rick, "one month and she's dead, she's never coming home." Police are reportedly tracking the man targeting the Hiltons on Instagram and Facebook, but as of Tuesday, no arrests have been made.

What's going on with this anti-Semitic Paris Hilton hater?

'Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro Pleads Guilty to DWI

Buddy Valastro, the star of reality television series "Cake Boss," pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in a New York City courtroom on Monday.

Valastro is the owner of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, the subject of TLC's "Cake Boss" which wrapped its sixth season earlier this year. Valastro posted an apology on social media following his appearance in court, reports WCBS. "I pled guilty today because I wanted to make this right," wrote Valastro. "I learned an important lesson that if you have even one drink you shouldn't drive. I thought I was fine to drive, but I wasn't."

What consequences will Valastro now face?