Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

January 2010 Archives

Gary Coleman Is Out of Jail; Bail Paid by Longtime Fan

Gary Coleman is out of jail, thanks to a longtime fan who reportedly posted $1,725 in bail for the former child star

The fan, Jarrod Clarke of Utah, told Radar Online that he simply felt bad for Coleman and decided paying his bail was the least he could do.

As previously reported by ABC News, Coleman was in jail after Utah police arrested the former child star on a previous warrant after they received a call about an incident at his house.

Sergeant Kris Johnson of the Santaquin Police Department told ABC News: "During the course of the investigation we found a failure to appear (on a) misdemeanor warrant and we simply booked him into jail." The jail record shows that he was being held for domestic violence related charges. However, he is not the only one in that couple who has faced domestic violence charges. His wife, Ms. Shannon Price was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence back in July 2009.

Golfer Greg Norman and Chris Evert Get Quickie Divorce

Golfing great Greg Norman and Tennis champ Chris Evert recently called it quits with a quickie divorce.

The couple got their quickie divorce secretly, ending 15 months of marriage. The two separated in October.

It is Norman's second divorce and Evert's third.

According to the the Palm Beach Post, Evert and Norman were granted a final judgment dissolving marriage and promised to abide by a prenuptial agreement they signed June 2, 2008, three weeks before their wedding.

Victoria Duffy and Dennis Hopper Battle over Divorce

There are allegations of guns, drugs, and threats in the whole Victoria Duffy and Dennis Hopper divorce mess. The Daily Beast is claiming that they have access to court documents regarding the Victoria Duffy and Dennis Hopper divorce. According to the Daily Beast, Victoria Duffy has filed a petition in the court that claims that Dennis Hopper kept loaded guns in their home, made threats against Victoria Duffy, and smoked marijuana in their home and in front of their six year old daughter Galen.

The Loaded Guns Allegations

The Daily Beast claims that the document says: "I discovered a pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition in Petitioner's bedroom drawer. The gun and ammunition was unsecure and easily accessible, including to Galen [Victoria and Dennis' six year old daughter]. I also located a loaded shotgun, unsecure, in our bedroom closet. I told Petitioner to remove the guns from our home. Petitioner agreed. I immediately moved the guns to a secure temporary location and later had them removed by a police officer."

Grace under Pressure: Nancy Grace Testimony to Be Taped

A Florida court judge ruled today that the deposition will be televised. Well actually, video taped. According to reports today from the Orlando Sentinel, Federal Magistrate Gary R. Jones denied the motion by lawyers for Court TV host Nancy Grace to stop her deposition testimony in a wrongful death suit from being taped. Ironic? That is exactly the word used by the plaintiffs' attorney to sum up the whole episode.

Alleged Stalker Tries to Keep Up with Kim Kardashian

It's no joke to Reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

She doesn't find anything amusing about her alleged stalker who shows up to her appearances as the Joker from "Batman" covered in facepaint.

The 26-year-old man is accused of stalking while trying to keep up with Kim Kardashian at her promotional events and online through Twitter.

According to the Associated Press, the Keeping up with the Kardashians reality tv star got a temporary restraining order against a man she describes as "extremely delusional," court records show.

Dennis Hopper's Struggle to Get a Divorce

While Dennis Hopper's battle with prostate cancer rages on, he seems to have added another battle to his plate. He wants to get a divorce from his wife of nearly 14 years, Ms. Victoria Duffy-Hopper. ABC News reports that Dennis Hopper filed divorce papers in Los Angeles Superior Court on January 14, 2010. The papers filed claimed that the reason for divorce was "irreconciliable differences". Dennis Hopper requested joint legal and physical custody of their daughter Galen, who is six years old.

The actor has 4 children. The first three of his children are from previous marriages. The actor has been married a total of five times. Ms. Victoria Duffy-Hopper was his fifth wife and she was the wife who has been married the longest to the infamously volatile actor.

While there have been speculations about why the actor has decided to divorce his wife while he is battling a terminal illness, the real question is how will this divorce affect his children?

Broderick Parker Surrogate Case: Suspended Police Chief Resigns

Suspended Ohio police chief Chad Dojack resigned from office to begin his sentence of 50 days of home confinement, putting an end to the Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker surrogate scandal.

Dojack was found guilty on dereliction of duties charges for neglecting to investigate or question former Martins Ferry police chief Barry Carpenter after a meeting with celebrity photographers about items from the home of a local woman carrying twins for actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

Gary Coleman and Wife Settle Civil Assault Case With Fan

What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis? Well it seems like Gary Coleman and his wife definitely believe in Diff'rent Strokes for different folks. RadarOnline reports that Gary Coleman and his wife recently settled a civil assault lawsuit put forth by a fan who claims that Gary Coleman and his wife assaulted him and tried to run him over with a truck.

Mr. Colt Rushton claims that Mr. Coleman's wife, Shannon Price tried to grab his phone from him in the parking lot of a bowling alley after he refused to pay for taking Gary Coleman's picture. Mr. Rushton claims that Mr. Coleman ran into him with his pickup truck afterwards and also hit another car in the parking lot on his way out. The star, his wife, and the fan reached a confidential settlement agreement. As a result of the agreement, the lawsuit was dropped.

But this case brings up the question: 

Michael Jackson Estate: Executors Seek 10% of Profits

The executors of the Michael Jackson estate want their piece of the pie.

In ongoing attempts to get paid for past and future work administering the Michael Jackson estate, the executors want a cut of the estate's profits.

According to court documents Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain are seeking 10% of the profits, excluding profits from the "This is It" documentary.

In a motion filed last week, they are also opposing a bid by Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, to more than $15,000 a monthly allowance from the singer's estate.

Bristol Palin Demands Child Support From Levi Johnston

Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin, has filed for a temporary order of child support from Levi Johnston. According to US Weekly, Bristol Palin wants $1,750 a month in child support from Levi Johnston. Bristol Palin wants Levi Johnston to pay up every month since Tripp's birth on December 27, 2008. Bristol Palin's request for permanent child support is pending.

TMZ claims that Bristol Palin asserts in court documents that she has only received "limited and sporadic financial assistance from Levi." CNN reports that the court filing by Bristol Palin claims that Levi Johnston earned "in excess of $105,000 in 2009 through various media interviews and modeling related activities." Johnston's manager contends that he has paid Bristol Palin more than $10,000 in child support.

Come In From the Cold: Judge Says Polanski Must Be Sentenced In Person

In L.A., everything has a sequel. We are now one step closer to what many hope will be the last showing of the legal saga of director Roman Polanski, wanted since the 1970's for sentencing on a conviction for unlawful sex with a minor. In a hearing today in a L.A. courtroom, Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that Polanski must face the court in person for sentencing and may not be granted the unusual step of being sentenced in absentia. "In defense of the integrity of the justice system, he needs to surrender," said Judge Espinoza.

Conan's Contract Is Bought Out By NBC

Conan O'Brien is ready to say good night to late night television with NBC. The New York Times reports that Conan's renegotiation of his two and a half year contract has ended with a buyout by NBC. Under the contract buyout, the two parties have agreed that NBC will pay him $32 million dollars and allow him to return to television after 8 months. The buyout also included a non-disparagement clause for both parties. I guess that NBC did not take too kindly to Mr. O'Brien's barrage of insults over the whole situation.

The NY Post reports that Mr. O'Brien's loyal staff will likely receive severance packages that will total $7.5 million dollars.

John Edwards News: Frances Quinn and the Duties of Unmarried Fathers

The latest John Edwards news is that he has released a statement that declares that he is indeed the father of Rielle Hunter's baby Frances Quinn. ABC News reports that Mr. Edwards wrote: "I am Quinn's father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support that she deserves."

John Edwards admitted having an affair with Rielle Hunter back in 2008. This affair happened at a time when his wife, Elizabeth Edwards had revealed that she was battling breast cancer that was likely incurable. While he admitted having the affair, he did not admit that he was the father of Ms. Hunter's baby. He said in an interview with ABC's Bob Woodruff: "That is absolutely not true."

Spiderman Attacked! Marvel Sues Authors' Heirs over Copyrights

POW! Marvel Comics has come out swinging against the heirs of the creator of Spiderman and other beloved heroes as revealed in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Monday. The heirs of artist Jack Kirby, creator of Spiderman as well as such franchise fodder as the comic book heroes Fantastic Four, X-Men and the Incredible Hulk, to name but a few, have been peppering Marvel with notices that, under the Copyright Act, the rights in Kirby's characters are due to revert back to the author (or, as in this case his estate), in 2014. Marvel seeks a judgment by the court finding the notices have no effect.

Joe Hammond "The Destroyer" Fights for His Right of Publicity

Joe Hammond, the infamous street basketball player known as "The Destroyer" is suing Footlocker and Nike. The Harlem streetballer who rocked the blacktop back in the 1970s claims that the sneaker company's t-shirt sold at Footlocker outlets violates his right of publicity.

According to the NY Post, the t-shirt in question has the tagline "Joe The Destroyer Hammon" (sic) with the picture of a broken down basketball hoop. As if using the poor man's  name wasn't enough, Nike even misspelled it. Mr. Hammond was not amused by the shirt and is suing both companies for $5 million dollars in Manhattan federal court.

Brooke Mueller, Charlie Sheen and an Order of Protection

Charlie Sheen and his lawyer sought to amend the order of protection against him so that he can care for his wife Brooke Mueller after her wisdom teeth surgery. We wrote about how Charlie Sheen and his wife Brooke Mueller got into an altercation on Christmas that led her to claim that he put a knife to her throat and threaten to kill her. That led to Charlie Sheen to spend the better part of Christmas Day in a Colorado jail cell after being arrested on domestic violence allegations.

It also led to an order of protection being put in place that prevents the couple from having contact. We also wrote about how the couple wanted to reconcile before this surgery.

However, it is not so easy to amend an order of protection.

Some of the things that an order of protection (which is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia) can do are:

Letterman Extortion Case: Joe Halderman Motion to Dismiss Rejected

Robert "Joe" Halderman, the CBS Corp. television producer accused of trying to blackmail David Letterman had his bid to get his attempted grand larceny case dismissed rejected by a New York state judge.

According to the Associated Press, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon wrote that determining whether Halderman's conduct was blackmail or business "is a classic example of an issue that is best left for the jury to decide."

Usher Bling Burglarized in $1M Car Break-In

R&B Singer Usher Raymond is catching a lot of flak these days as he reportedly was a victim of a one million dollar car break-in.

Who keeps a million dollars worth of bling in their SUV?

Shaq Attack! Shaq Sues for Infringement of Trademark

Shaquille O'Neal is ready to launch his Shaq attack at an online store for stealing one of his many nicknames. The Las Vegas Sun reports that a licensing company for the huge basketball player is suing on his behalf against the online store called "Shaqtus Orange Clothing Co" in U.S District Court in Las Vegas. Mr. O'Neal now plays for the Cavaliers, but he was known as "The Big Cactus" and as "The Big Shaqtus" when he was playing for the Phoenix Suns.

It is Mr. O'Neal's "The Big Shaqtus" nickname that is the crux of this lawsuit. The defendant operates a website that features a large cactus mascot who looks like Mr. O'Neal. The mascot also wears an orange jersey with the number 32 which was Mr. O'Neal's number when he played for the Suns. The lawsuit contends that the defendant sent a letter to ESPN offering to sell them the "Shaqtus" trademark. When ESPN countered that it received permission to use the "Shaq" trademark from his licensing company, it also asserted that the defendant was infringing on the basketball player's trademark.

Contract Buyout of the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien?

It seems like one of the biggest feuds over late night television may finally be settled this week. ABC News reports that the end of negotiations for a contract buyout of The Tonight Show With Conan 'O Brien is near.

ABC News reports that the television networks wants to oust Conan O'Brien from The Tonight Show in order to reinstate Jay Leno in his old television time slot. In order to do that, they need to reach a severance package with Mr. 'O Brien. According to ABC News, the severance package deal for Conan O'Brien may be $30 to $40 million dollars plus severance packages for his staff. If an agreement is reached, CNN reports that the deal could prevent Mr. O'Brien from taking shots at NBC. The late night comedian has taken to bad mouthing the network during his shows since the feud erupted.

Utah Senate Majority Leader Killpack Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack will now have a first hand perspective about the dangers of drunk driving.

The lawmaker who has sponsored and supported tough anti-DUI bills will see the law from the other side.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Republican Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Killpak, arrested on Friday, resigned from the Utah Senate on Saturday, as reported by the Washington Post.

Michael Jackson Estate: Man Seeks $3 Million for LA City Treasury

Jose F. Vallejos is the latest person to seek reimbursement from the Michael Jackson estate.

He is now among several of Jackson's former collaborators, attorneys and those who sold the pop singer goods or services and now look to be reinbursed.

According to the Associated Press, Vallejos is seeking $3.3 million for the city of Los Angeles from Michael Jackson's estate to cover the cost of the King of Pop's public memorial.

South Carolina House Passes Censure of Gov. Mark Sanford

The members of the South Carolina House of Representatives voted yesterday to censure Governor Mark Sanford for his recent breach of public trust best described as secret trips to see his Argentine mistress and improper use of state aircraft. In a 102-11 vote, the House condemned the Governor for bringing "dishonor, disgrace, and shame not only upon [himself] but upon this State and its citizens..."

Dan Rather Lawsuit Over CBS Scandal Denied Appeal

What happens to newscasters who are past their prime? They don't get old, they just lose their appeal. In this case, Dan Rather just lost his appeal of a court ruling dismissing his lawsuit by the New York State Court of Appeals. ABC News reports that the Dan Rather lawsuit appeal was shot down by New York State's highest court this past Tuesday.

What Was the Dan Rather Lawsuit About?

According to Findlaw, the Dan Rather lawsuit centered around the infamous news anchor's claims that there was a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of his employer CBS when CBS failed to provide the anchor enough air time. He held a job as a news anchor for 24 years. This was shortly after a CBS scandal in which Mr. Rather played a large part.

Baby Barack Moniker Gets Slammed By PETA

Talk about an elephant in the room! Um, I mean a baby elephant. After we wrote about unauthorized Michelle Obama ads by PETA in Celebrity Justice, the animal rights group responded to the hype by taking down the offending ads. However, they did not go without some fighting words about a baby elephant that goes by the name baby Barack. A baby elephant? That's right. MSNBC reports that a letter by PETA alleges that the use of the Obama name for a baby elephant in the Ringling Bros. circus is far more troubling.

The letter by PETA was written by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk and was sent to the President Barack Obama. In the letter, Ms. Newkirk urged President Obama to request that the circus changes the elephant's name. MSNBC quotes the letter as saying, "'Baby Barack' is not even a year old, but his curious and energetic childhood has been cut tragically short while Ringling attempts to profit from your popularity by putting him on the road to perform in the circus."

Broderick Parker Surrogate Case: House Arrest for Suspended Chief

A judge spared jail time for a suspended Ohio police chief for his part in snooping on the woman who carried twins for Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

But whether he will be a cop again is still unclear.

Judge John M. Solovan said he believes the people of Bridgeport have lost confidence in their police department

According to the Associated Press, Chad Dojack, 29, of Bridgeport, must complete 50 days of house arrest, three years of probation and 100 hours of community service. He had pleaded no contest to dereliction of duty, a misdemeanor.

Broderick Parker Surrogate Case: Police Chief Pleads No Contest

The Ohio Police Chief accused of nosing around the home of the woman who is a surrogate mom who bore twins for Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker is pleading no contest to a misdemeanor.

According to the Associated Press, Chad Dojack entered the plea to a dereliction-of-duty count during a pretrial hearing.  In exchange, prosecutors have dropped earlier charges of complicity to burglary and complicity to receiving stolen property. A trial upcoming trial is scheduled.

Appellate Court Overturns Award in Jackson Video Taping

A Los Angeles appellate court has tossed out a $20 million judgment against a now-defunct charter airline in a case involving a secret video taping of the late pop star Michael Jackson and his attorneys.

According to the Associated Press, an appellate court overturned the award, ruling the amount was excessive, and XtraJet and its owner Jeffrey Borer shouldn't have to pay it to attorneys Mark Geragos and Pat Harris.

Court Date Set For Actor Charlie Sheen and Wife

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Actor Charlie Sheen and wife Brooke Mueller want to kiss and make up and their wish could be granted with a day in court.

TMZ reported that the couple have a court date on January 20 and the judge is expected to hear the motion to modify the protection order currently in place.

A Replicant of a Suit: Roy Batty v. Google?

Google, as you may have noticed, is running to market with its representative in the phone wars, the Nexus One. However, they may hit a small bump in the road on their way to domination of the tech universe: the estate of cult sci-fi author, Philip K. Dick. Dick is perhaps best known for his story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was the basis for the hit movie, Blade Runner. The heirs of Philip K. Dick think the techies over at Google might be Dick fans, because their Nexus One phone, running on an "Android" OS, hits a little too close to the Nexus 6 rogue android (or replicant) in Dick's story, at least according to Dick's daughter and heir, Isa Dick Hackett.

Mark and Jenny Sanford Want An Uncontested Divorce

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford asked a judge to allow his wife Jenny Sanford to move forward with an uncontested divorce. MSNBC reports that the governor admitted that he had an affair and is guilty of the charges of adultery that are laid out in Jenny Sanford's petition for divorce. He also stated that he will not challenge the petition for divorce by Jenny Sanford.

What Is An Uncontested Divorce?

While an uncontested divorce may vary from state to state, there are some common elements. As the name implies, an uncontested divorce happens when there are no disagreements between the spouses who are planning to divorce and the spouses both agree to the divorce.

Jenny Sanford filed the divorce petition after she failed to reconcile with her estranged husband. Governor Mark Sanford had disappeared in June only to reappear and admit that he was having an affair with Argentinian journalist Maria Belen Chapur. A final court hearing is scheduled next month.

Dr. Conrad Murray To Be Indicted for Death Of Michael Jackson

Prosecutors are planning to indict Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson. Dr. Conrad Murray is a cardiologist that was with the pop singer when he reportedly died from complications of mixing painkillers with anesthetics.

ABC News reports that prosecutors are preparing to indict Michael Jackson's doctor for involuntary manslaughter of the star. The doctor was hired by the Prince of Pop as his personal physician for his comeback concert tour.

According to the AP, an anonymous law enforcement source has said that the Dr. Conrad Murray could be prosecuted because his actions surrounding the pop star were so far removed from the standard of care a reasonable physician would give a patient. He would be prosecuted under the theory of gross negligence.

Nick Cage Legal Battles Continue

Although Actor Nicolas Cage is not being sued for $36.7 million for fraud by a real estate company, his legal battles continue.

He now faces a lawsuit for unpaid loans instead of being sued for fraud, as previously reported by People magazine.

Red Curb Investments is suing him for approximately $3 million, the amount of Cage's unpaid loans.

Paris Hilton Shoe Line: Sole Hearted Infringement?

That's hot....the Paris Hilton shoe line is being accused of the infringement of patent rights over a heart shaped pad on the insole of its shoes.

The Business Journal reports that Paris Hilton, along with her shoe company Antebi Footwear Group, are getting slapped with a lawsuit that claims the infringement of patent rights held by the company Brooke Hollow Inc.; which does business as Gwyneth Shoes.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Western Washington, claims that Gwyneth Shoes holds a patent for "Shoe Sock Having a Heart Shaped Pad". The shoe sock is just an insole with a pale pink heart. The Paris Hilton shoe line allegedly infringes on this patent because it features an insole with a pink heart shaped pad. According to the complaint, the insoles were introduced by Gwyneth Shoes back in 2007 during trade shows attended by retailers and other shoe designers; such as WSA in Las Vegas and FFANY in New York. The company claims that in addition to a patent, the insole serves as a source and brand identifier for Gwyneth Shoes.

Fur Flies Over Michelle Obama Image In a PETA Ad

A PETA ad that features a Michelle Obama image alongside Carrie Underwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks with the tagline "Fur-Free and Fabulous!" caused the White House to comment that Ms. Obama did not give PETA permission to use her image or likeness. This incident highlights a bevy of issues, most squarely, the "right of publicity" people have against unwanted use of their image to promote products or causes.

According to Yahoo News, the PETA ad is featured in the DC metro area in places such as public transit areas. All of the other celebrities are known to have publicly endorsed the animal rights group PETA. However, the White House released a statement that let the media know that this ad was not sanctioned by the First Lady.

Semonti Stephens, a spokeswoman for the first lady's office told USA Today: "We did not consent to this."   

Letterman Extortion Case: Joe Halderman Cites Tiger Woods Scandal

As the David Letterman extortion case goes forward, TV producer Robert "Joe" Halderman who is accused of grand larceny has drawn on the Tiger Woods sex scandal to try bolster his defense.

According to the Associated Press, the attorney representing Joe Halderman is looking to draw a parallel to the Tiger Woods scandal. Halderman is accused of shaking down $2 million from David Letterman in an extortion scheme.

Gene Simmons, KISS Star, Sued for Alleged Assault

A couple has filed a tort lawsuit against Gene Simmons, KISS bassist and vocalist, for alleged assault.

The couple claims they were assaulted by KISS' fire-breathing frontman.

According to the Associated Press, Nathan Marlowe and his wife, Cynthia Manzo accused the 60-year-old Simmons of threatening and assaulting them and then swiping their video camera after they shot footage of the Kiss bassist at the Grove mall.

Jim Gibbons: First Governor of Nevada To Get A Divorce While in Office

It's official.

Gov. Jim Gibbons will be the first governor of Nevada to get divorced while in office.

According to the  Associated Press, Gov. Jim Gibbons and first lady Dawn Gibbons reached a settlement in their divorce.

Bristol Palin Sues for Sole Legal Custody

Now everything is out in the open with the custody battle between Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin.

Bristol Palin is suing for sole legal custody of Tripp Johnston-Palin, the former couple's son.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that the custody battle became public when two Superior Court judges issued orders unsealing the court record and denying the use of pseudonyms to protect the feuding parents' identities.

Charlie Sheen and Wife to Reconcile After Domestic Violence Report

Actor Charlie Sheen and wife Brooke Mueller say they want to patch things up.

The Associated Press reports that the couple wants to reconcile after Mueller's domestic violence report to the police on Christmas Day. Mueller told police the actor threatened her life with a knife during an arguement that that started when she said she wanted a divorce.