Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

December 2016 Archives

America's first celebrity president is having a bit of trouble finding celebrities to perform at his inauguration. While the list of confirmed performers sits at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 16-year-old former America's Got Talent singer named Jackie Evancho, the list of those who've declined Donald Trump's invitations includes varied luminaries from Elton John to Garth Brooks and Andrea Bocelli to Kiss.

One group of performers' famous legs were straddling the fence on whether to perform for the infamous President-elect: initial reports said the Radio City Rockettes were being forced by their employer to dance at the inauguration, but it now looks like participation at the event will be voluntary. So how many will show?

Hollywood lost a little of its luster in 2016, with the passing of stars from Alan Rickman to Alan Thicke. But it didn't lose any of its litigiousness, with plenty of A-listers involved in high-stakes lawsuits.

Here's a look at the biggest celebrity lawsuits of the last year:

Rick Ross has got to be feeling pretty smart after a California Federal Court officially ruled that he can use the word "Mastermind" for the title of the album he already released in 2014, and as his self appointed nickname. Another rapper, lesser known Raul Caiz, had trademarked the name years ago, but never achieved notoriety. When Caiz learned of Ross's newest album, he filed a $2 million trademark infringement lawsuit last year after his cease and desist letter went unanswered. Caiz claims to have used the name Mastermind over his 17 year music career and that Ross's use of the album name and nickname was likely to cause confusion.

In response to the lawsuit, Rick Ross filed a counterclaim seeking to have Caiz's trademark cancelled as being overly broad. Recently, the federal court judge dismissed Caiz's claims and granted Ross's request to cancel Caiz's trademark.

Top 5 Celebrity Arrests of 2016

The year ain't over yet. Meaning that some A, B, or C-list stars could still make it on this countdown. (And let's be honest, we welcome D-listers as well.) But with time running out on 2016, we thought we'd take a moment and look back on the most notorious celeb busts of the year.

And considering the last 350-plus days have been known more for the tragic deaths of some of music, movies, and pop culture's most kindred souls, perhaps the celebrities below should feel fortunate they only went to jail, and not the great beyond.

The battle between the IRS and Michael Jackson's estate is heating up. While trial is not set to begin until 2017, the end result could make this a billion dollar case. The dispute centers around the value of Michael Jackson's likeness rights at the time of his death. The IRS claims that these rights were worth approximately $434 million, while the estate asserts that these were only worth about $2,100.

Most recently, the court has decided to exclude expert analysis on the valuation of Jackson's image. However, it has required certain key members of the legal team from Jackson's estate to be deposed, as well as one of Jackson's former business managers. Since this case has been pending since shortly after the pop star's death, nearly half a decade ago, the legal fees have become astronomical. It is estimated that by the time the case is through, if the IRS prevails, the estate will owe nearly $1 billion.

If you could be arrested with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be? And what would it be for?

Most people have been asked about which famous person they would most want to meet, or have lunch with, or maybe be stranded on a dessert island with. These hypotheticals are usually just fun games played among friends. But for the 22 year old Erick Harris, he didn't have a choice when the Arizona police stopped him and his two friends, Tupac and Robin Williams. The three young adults were arrested for the 100+ pounds of marijuana they allegedly had in the back of the pickup truck. Unfortunately for Harris, neither Robin nor Tupac are actually famous.

In a surprising turn of events, Sofia Vergara's embryos have filed suit against the Modern Family actress in the state of Louisiana. If it comes as a shock to you that an embryo can file suit, you are not alone. Lawyers across the country are all shocked. Even after looking into the legality of it, they find themselves in awe.

You see, in Louisiana, the great state that brings us Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, since the 1980s, embryos have been considered persons for judicial purposes. Vergara's ex, Nick Loeb, is not a party to the Louisiana suit; instead a new player has entered the battle. James Charbonnet is the trustee of a trust fund set up in Louisiana with the purpose of providing for the health, education, maintenance, and support of the embryos.