Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

March 2010 Archives

Rapper T.I. Gets Curfew with Terms of Probation

The Atlanta rapper T.I. is a free man... well kind of. He now has to follow a curfew as part of the terms of his probation.

That means the hip-hop artist will begin supervised release after his one year prison sentence. T.I. must now adhere to a strict curfew requiring him to be home by 11 p.m. or 1 a.m. if he is working, MTV reports.

Accused Celebrity Stalker Found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity

The accused celebrity stalker of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Steven Burky pleaded no contest to charges of stalking the celebrity couple and their children. A judge found the 37-year-old man not guilty by reason of insanity and sent him to a state mental hospital, the Associated Press reports.

Green Day Band Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

The Green Day band was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly stealing an image used as a backdrop during their American Idiot concert tour.

The graphic image apparently is the original artwork of Los Angeles based artist Dereck Seltzer who filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the punk rock band Green Day, according to the Examiner.com.

Beauty Pageant Queen Carrie Prejean Sued for Non Payment

Beauty pageant queen Carrie Prejean is facing a lawsuit brought by a Christian focused public relations firm, claiming she owes $64,000.

Larry Ross Communications is suing Prejean, the runner-up in the 2009 Miss USA pageant who sparked controversy after stating her religious aversion to gay marriage in response to an onstage question, Courthouse News Service reports.

Court of Appeals Affirms Sanctions on Orly Taitz

There are a few groups trying to dethrone President Obama. The Birther movement, however, has the most "interesting" platform.

And the most "interesting" leader.

Queen of the Birther movement, Orly Taitz, must pay a hefty amount for her challenges to President Obama's birth certificate. Taitz was fined $20,000, as upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month. 

Her sanctions arise from her 2009 lawsuit, challenging the deployment of a military person, Capt. Connie Rhodes, on the grounds that the deployment was void as President Barack Obama was not a legitimate president. Taitz argued in her suit, and continues arguing outside of her lawsuits, that President Obama should not be President, as he was never actually born in the United States. 

AG Jerry Brown Urges Court to Revoke License from Jackson's Doctor

Already charged with involuntary manslaughter in the King of Pop's death, Dr. Conrad Murray also could be barred from practicing medicine as CA Attorney General Jerry Brown is urging the court to revoke his medical license.

According to the, Los Angeles Times, Brown filed his petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of the California Medical Board to revoke Murray's license.

Herd Instinct: Lawsuit Over Bison Sent to Ted Turner's Ranch

In Montana, folks take their wildlife very seriously. A coalition of preservation groups has reportedly sued the state of Montana and the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks over bison. The bison in question were moved to media mogul Ted Turner's ranch after being spared from a government ordered slaughter when they were found to be potentially infected with a disease that could harm that state's other passion, steak. Or, more accurately, cows.

Oprah Reaches Legal Settlement in Defamation Lawsuit

Looks like the talk-show queen will not be headed to trial after all, as Oprah reached a legal settlement in a defamation lawsuit.

As we discussed previously, Oprah and former headmistress Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane met without lawyers to try to reach a settlement while jury selection began this week.

It looks like that meeting did, in fact result in a resolution of the dispute, averting a federal trial that was set to begin, Philly.com reports.

Oprah Defamation Trial: Potential Settlement as Jury Selected

Jury selection began this week in the infamous Oprah defamation trial. And while the hordes of photographers and "Oprah-philes" moved in to catch a glimpse of the talk-show queen, Oprah herself was nowhere to be seen.

This could quite possibly have been because Oprah and the plaintiff in the defamation suit were discussing settlement in the case, woman to woman, outside the presence of the media.

Oprah was entangled in a bitter defamation lawsuit which stemmed from the alleged abuse scandal at her South African girls' school. As discussed in this blog, the suit involved public comments made, criticizing Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane, the former headmistress of the girls' school in South Africa. Mzamane alleged defamation, claiming that Oprah's comments had harmed her reputation and her chances at seeking gainful employment.  

'The Game' Asks Court to Ban 'Gangster Rapper' at Trial

Here is an interesting legal issue. Although the original lawsuit by the assault victim stems from a fight on a basketball court, rapper "The Game" wants certain language excluded from trial. And now, The Game has filed with the court a request to prevent certain references to him, or to his music, from being made in court. 

Specifically, The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Taylor, wants to limit any language referring to him as a "gangster rapper" during trial. His reasoning? He fears that it would somehow prejudice the jury.

The lawsuit follows an altercation on a public basketball court, where Taylor allegedly approached alleged assault victim Shannon Rodrick and told him that his "team is garbage."  A fight ensued and according to court documents, the rapper allegedly sucker-punched Rodrick. After the punch, the rapper allegedly went to his car and came back with a gun, threatening to "blast" Rodrick.

Jesse James and Sandra Bullock Face Custodial Rights Challenge

It seems like there is a lot more for Jesse James and Sandra Bullock to worry about than the rumors of infidelity. America's sweetheart and the reformed bad boy owner of West Coast Choppers also have to worry about losing their custodial rights to Mr. James' daughter Sunny.

We wrote about how Mr. James' ex wife Janine Lindemulder went public with her scorn over how Jesse James and Sandra Bullock petitioned for custodial rights to her biological daughter previously in Celebrity Justice. Specifically, Ms. Lindemulder did not take too kindly to the pair calling her an unfit mother because of her lifestyle choices, particularly her jail time for tax evasion and her remarriage to a convicted felon.

Lady Gaga Countersuit Claims Unlawful Contract Deal

Lady Gaga is responding to a recent lawsuit by ex boyfriend and producer Rob Fusari with a countersuit of her own. She has filed a lawsuit challenging their signed contract deal, claiming it was invalid because he was not a licensed talent agent.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the countersuit claims that the contract was "predatory and financially abusive," in part because it gave Fusari rights to her future earnings.

Lady Gaga Getting Sued by Former Boyfriend Rob Fusari

Lady Gaga getting sued by her former boyfriend and collaborator for $30 million sheds new light on the Grammy award winner's hit single "Bad Romance."

Producer and songwriter Rob Fusari has filed a $30 million lawsuit against Lady Gaga and claims he was instrumental in the singer's success, MTV news reports.

Defamation Lawsuit: Oprah Winfrey Trial Set to Begin

Oprah will find herself in front of a new audience later this month. The trial is set to begin for the talk show queen who will appear in court before a judge and jury to defend a defamation lawsuit.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, trial for the defamation lawsuit could begin as early as March 29.  Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane, former headmistress of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, claims the talk show host defamed her.

Spider Bites Back: The Fight Over Who Owns Spiderman Escalates

As discussed in a prior post, this past January, Marvel comics sued the estate of the late Jack Kirby to establish its ownership of the copyrights in Kirby's most famous comic book creations, including Spiderman. Now the representatives of Kirby's estate are biting back with a suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The estate hopes to terminate the company's ownership of the copyrights in the Marvel heroes and receive some of the profits made off of Kirby's work as damages.

Kid Rock Ordered to Pay $35,000 in Assault Case

Kid Rock was found guilty of assault charges and ordered to pay three victims who sued in the assault case.

So, that's the bad news.

The good news is that the rocker will only have to pay a total of $35,000 to the three guys, which is significantly less than the $15 million they demanded in their lawsuit.

Michael Jackson Estate Signs Record Deal with Sony

The Michael Jackson estate signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment for $250 million.

According to the Associated Press, the record-breaking Jackson Sony deal guarantees the Jackson estate up to $250 million and gives Sony the rights to sell his back catalog and draw on a large vault of unheard recordings.

Charlie Sheen Domestic Violence Case: Actor Pleads Not Guilty

In the Charlie Sheen domestic violence case, the actor has pleaded not guilty to one felony and two misdemeanor charges stemming from a Christmas Day domestic dispute.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the actor had hoped to get a plea deal and avoid jail time. Instead, he entered the not guilty plea on charges of menacing, criminal mischief and assault.

Final Update: Erin Andrews' Stalker is Sentenced

A Los Angeles courtroom saw the last chapter today in the Erin Andrews stalker case. As has been widely covered, ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was spied on and video-taped by her stalker, Michael Barrett, who pled guilty to the charge of federal stalking in December, 2009. Andrews, who called Barrett a "sexual predator," was present in court for the sentencing and argued for the longest sentence available under the law.

Private Equity Firm Bails Annie Leibovitz Out of Debt

Private equity firm Colony Capital LLC firm has come to the aid of celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz rescuing her from millions of dollars of debt and helping to market her portfolio of celebrity images.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the celebrity photographer agreed to a deal allowing Colony to become her sole creditor and Leibovitz will retain control of her portfolio.

Another Jersey Shore Lawsuit Involving Brawl Cover-Up

The MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" faces another lawsuit. Of course, it's no surprise that this lawsuit also involves a fight between cast members and outsiders. 

And surprise, surprise. Guess who's involved in this fight, too? You guessed it, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. 

MTV is named in a lawsuit, along with 495 Productions, Viacom and cast member Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. 

According to TMZ, Ronnie and Sammie "Sweetheart" Giancola allegedly exchanged some rough words with a couple on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. The couple, J.T. and K.P., are now suing MTV, claiming that the footage aired by MTV was not accurate. The couple is also attempting to vitiate the contract release that MTV had them sign, claiming that they were clearly intoxicated at the time. 

Nick Cage Faces Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Nicolas Cage continues to face financial problems and more legal woes. The actor was recently hit with a breach of contract lawsuit.

Nick Cage is being sued for defaulting on his Rolls Royce Lease payments, the Business Insider reports. Apparently, Nicolas Cage could not afford his payments and returned two vintage Rolls Royce cars.

Premier Financial Services leasing company is suing him over breach of contract

Assault Case: Kid Rock Defends Himself in Court

Kid Rock defended himself and his swagger while answering to assault charges in court over allegations he attacked three fans in 2006.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the rocker testified in court and denied any wrongdoing or that he threatened the three plaintiffs by saying "Who wants a piece of me next?" as he wouldn't say anything so "corny."

Jamie McCourt, Frank McCourt, And One Expensive Divorce

It seems like the infamous battling couple fighting over Dodgers ownership are bringing out the big guns. The big legal guns that is, and it is turning out to be one expensive divorce. The Los Angeles Times reports that Jamie McCourt, the soon to be ex-wife of Frank McCourt, has hired David Boies. Boies is well known as a skilled trial lawyer; especially for his high profile cases such as representing Al Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court after the 2000 presidential election. Boies is also part of the plaintiff lawyer team for the trial challenging Prop. 8 in California. She probably retained Boies because of the complicated issues in her divorce. However, both Jamie McCourt and Boies have declined to comment.  

We wrote about how the McCourts' divorce has been a messy affair that is riddled with accusations of infidelity, unfair dismissal, and questions surrounding marital assets in our Law and Daily Life blog.

Kill Bill Films: Quentin Tarantino Sued for Plagiarism

Four years after the action thriller Kill Bill films, Quentin Tarantino has been hit with a plagiarism lawsuit which alleges copyright infringement along with a host of other claims.

According to E!, the lawsuit was filed by Dannez Hunter in Los Angeles Superior Court. He claims director ripped off his concept for the film and he submitted a treatment to Miramax back in 1999. Hunter claims the parallels between his and Kill Bill were too similar and he had to take legal action.

Letterman Extortion Case: Joe Halderman Enters Guilty Plea

Joe Halderman, the CBS news producer entered a guilty plea and will serve six months in jail after being accused of trying to extort $2 million from David Letterman over his sexual affairs.

According to the New York Times, Joe Halderman entered a guilty plea under a plea agreement in the Letterman extortion case. In exchange for his guilty plea, he was given a reduced prison sentence -- 1000 hours of community service and four and a half years probation.

'Prince Harming': Self Help Author Sues Ex-Boyfriend

A self-help guru is about to become much more widely known, but for all the wrong reasons. Karen Salmansohn, the author of How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Successful Dog Trainers, is suing her ex-boyfriend because he just didn't. Behave that is, or even follow up on his alleged promise to support her and the baby she says he fathered through fertility treatments.

Lindsay Lohan Sues Over E-Trade Talking Babies Commercial

Lindsay Lohan claims the "milkaholic" baby in the latest E-Trade talking babies commercial allegedly used her name and parodied her life for profit.

According to the New York Post, Lohan is suing for $100 million over the E-Trade commercial that debuted during this year's Super Bowl.

The lawsuit is filed in New York state court.

Jackson's Ex Debbie Rowe Wins Defamation Suit

Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe won a defamation suit filed against a woman who allegedly gave false reports about her to the media after the singer's death.

A judge granted Rowe a $27,000 judgment which includes damages for the emotional distress that she says she suffered after the interview aired on the "Extra" television show.

Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne Goes to The Big House

Lil' Wayne's dental work is done.

The courthouse fire has been put out.

And his goodbye video to his fans is a wrap.

The only thing left to do is for the multiplatinum-selling rapper to turn himself in.

He finally entered the big house today to begin his one-year prison sentence in New York.

The Greek Tragedy Continues: Edwards to be Indicted?

Like so many scandals, the John Edwards debacle has more chapters than a Russian novel. In not perfect chronological order came; first, the plain old sex scandal involving Edwards and campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, then the admission of the existence of their child. Next, enter Andrew Young with his tell-all book deal. The sex tape portion of the drama followed soon after, including a court's requirement that Mr. Young be "assisted" by a security guard when retrieving the tape and any additional portraits of Ms. Hunter or her child to present to the court. Next, in an unwise move, there was the threat of a court action by Elizabeth Edwards against Mr. Young for alienation of affection.

Rihanna's Trainer Sues for Unpaid Wages

Everything comes with a price.

That includes what it cost for Rihanna to keep herself looking good.

Grammy-winning music artist Rihanna has run into some legal trouble with her trainer who is suing for unpaid wages, TMZ celebrity site reports.

'Hurt Locker' Lawsuit: Soldier Alleges Theft of Life Story

It's only a few days before the legendary Academy Awards and one major Oscar player is finding themselves in the midst of a lawsuit from a soldier who claims the film amounts to a theft of his life story.

The movie "Hurt Locker" is a major contender for Best Picture. But some are now alleging that the movie, which claims to be based on fictional characters, is actually based on a real life man.

The man is Master Sargeant Jeffrey S. Sarver, who believes that the "Hurt Locker" screenwriter, Mark Boal, based "virtually all of the situations" in the movie on Sarver's life.  Sarver also claims that he is the founder of the phrase "the hurt locker".  Mark Boal was a jouralist who spend a significant amount of time with Sarver's team in Iraq. Soon afterwards, Boal published an article in Playboy magazine, detailing his experience and focusing on Sarver.  The movie is a broader adaptation of that Playboy article.  

Fishbone Front Man Angelo Moore Sued over Stage Dive

A 42-year old woman is suing the band, Fishbone, for injuries she sustained when the band's lead singer jumped off the stage and into the crowd. The woman's lawyer filed suit in Federal Court earier this week. 

Fishbone's front man, Angelo "Dr. Madd Vibe" Moore is notorious as a longtime practitioner of the stage dive, propelling himself off the stage and into the crowd.  Last month, however, he allegedly injured a woman when diving off the stage at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. 

The woman, Kimberly Myers, 42, alleges that she was injured at Fishbone's February 23 show, when Moore threw himself into the crowd "without any warning."  As a result, Myers says she suffered a broken collarbone, a fractures skull, a perforated eardrum and hearing loss.  She alleges that she had to be taken from the venue in an ambulance. 

A Lawsuit over OJ Simpson Murder Trial Suit

Ron Goldman's dad is trying to get his hands on the suit that his son's accused murderer was wearing on the day he was acquitted.

In case you don't remember who Ron Goldman was, Ron Goldman was the man allegedly killed by former football star, OJ Simpson in 1994. But how could anyone remember all the names and details of the OJ Simpson murder trial, after all, it was only the highest profile murder trial in recent history. 

Fred Goldman, the father of Ron Goldman, filed a lawsuit to get O.J.'s suit -- the suit he was wearing the day of his acquittal, to satisfy a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment. In 1997, a civil jury found OJ Simpson liable for the death of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. 

Courthouse Fire Delays Sentencing for Rap Superstar Lil' Wayne

Rap star Lil' Wayne gets another false start.

The rapper had been expected to start a one-year jail term but his sentencing was delayed yet again due to a courthouse fire.

According to the Associated Press, his sentencing was postponed for a second time because of a basement courthouse fire in Lower Manhattan.

Anita Baker Avoids Jail in Divorce Valuation Dispute over Royalties

Singer Anita Baker was very lucky on Friday, as she avoided what could have been a jail sentence for contempt of court. 

In laymen's terms: Baker could have gone to jail for failing to follow a judges' orders.

Anita Baker's divorce battle with her ex-husband, Walter Bridgforth, began in 2008. As part of the bitter legal battle, the parties were to determine how, exactly, to split the royalties earned by Baker on songs written by her, during their marriage, and thus marital property divided in the couple's divorce documents. 

Sanford Divorce Final in Mid-March

Jenny and Mark Sanford will soon be divorced. A family court judge in Charleston has granted the divorce, making it final in mid-March.

See FindLaw's Courtside to get a look at the Sanford divorce decree.

Jenny Sanford filed for divorce in December after suffering humiliation when her husband, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, was caught cheating on her with an Argentine mistress.   

Governor Sanford was not in attendance at the hearing but he was represented by his attorneys.  Jenny Sanford took the witness stand and testified very briefly, reiterating the facts on Gov. Sanford's infidelity. 

Child Support Court Trial Date Set for Bristol and Levi

A date has been set for the child support trial of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's first grandchild first grandchild.

A judge set a September court date but urged parents Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston to find a resolution outside of court before then, the Associated Press reports.