Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

July 2014 Archives

Morrissey's Bodyguard Sues Over Alleged Murder-for-Hire

It's been a tough summer for Morrissey.

After first being mobbed on stage by fans at a show, then cancelling a planned tour due to illness, the singer has now been sued by a man who claims he was fired as Morrissey's bodyguard after refusing an request by the singer's manager to do away with the administrator of a Morrissey fan site, reports Rolling Stone.

What did Morrissey have to say in response to these allegations? And is getting fired for refusing to commit a crime grounds for a wrongful termination suit?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Sues Auction House to Get Bruce Lee Poster Back

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is suing a Beverly Hills auction house to get some prized possessions back, claiming they're holding his property "hostage."

According to the suit, Julien's Auction House had initially been contracted in 2012 to sell 400 of Abdul-Jabbar's treasures, but the deal fell through when he decided not to sell some of the pieces, reports TMZ. One of the items in contention was a poster for the movie "Game of Death" signed by Bruce Lee, who made the film with Abdul-Jabbar.

Will Abdul-Jabbar pry his poster from Julien's kung-fu grip?

'Girls Gone Wild's' Joe Francis Fined $5K/Day by Bankruptcy Judge

Joe Francis, the embattled founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" video franchise, has been hit with a $5,000 daily sanction by a bankruptcy court judge.

The fines are meant to compel Francis to return two luxury cars -- a Bentley Flying Spur and a Cadillac Escalade -- that belong to his former business, reports The Wall Street Journal. Girls Gone Wild was sold after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

What is Francis's suitably "wild" reason for not being able to turn over the cars, and how do court sanctions work?

Ex-WWE Champ Daniel Bryan Tackles Alleged Home Burglar

Former WWE star Daniel Bryan tackled an alleged burglar at his Phoenix home on Thursday night, proving that TV smackdowns might not be fake after all.

Bryan, an ex-WWE World Heavyweight Champion whose real name is (confusingly) Bryan Danielson, told police that he saw two robbery suspects flee his home as he and his wife were returning. Perhaps leaning into his WWE skills, the ex-wrestler was able to chase down and subdue one suspect, Cesar Sosa, until police arrived, reports AZ Central.

Is it OK for homeowners like Danielson to subdue home invaders?

Did A&E make a bad call with its "Duck Dynasty" novelty shirts? A federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday, asserts the cable TV network is running afoul of the law by infringing on another company's registered trademark.

Hajn LLC, based in Florida, claims it's been selling shirts with the slogan "My Favorite Color's Camo" since 2011, and registered the slogan with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But then along came A&E with its "Duck Dynasty"-branded clothes -- some featuring the nearly identical phrase "My Favorite Color Is Camo," which "Uncle Si" Robertson once uttered on the popular show.

Is this enough for a successful infringement suit, or will A&E's lawyers be able to shoot it down in court?

Ray J Facing Sexual Battery Charge Over Alleged Groping

Ray J is facing a slew of misdemeanor charges, including sexual battery, for allegedly grabbing a woman's breast in the lobby of a Beverly Hills hotel.

Ray J, born William Ray Norwood Jr., was arrested May 30 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel after an altercation at the hotel bar and a struggle with police. TMZ reports that although police originally believed Ray J "incidentally" touched a woman's butt during the incident, new evidence points to the singer grabbing a woman's breast.

With this new evidence, what is Ray J facing?

Philip Seymour Hoffman's Will: Didn't Want 'Trust Fund' Kids

Actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman "did not want his children to be considered 'trust fund' kids," according to court documents from his estate proceeding.

The unmarried actor died earlier this year following a drug overdose, leaving behind three children -- Cooper, 10; Tallulah, 7; and Willa, 5 -- as well as a substantial estate. But the New York Post reports that Hoffman's accountant told an attorney appointed to represent the children that Hoffman "summarily rejected" the idea of leaving his children money through trusts.

To whom will his reported $35 million estate go?

YouTube Makeup Star Michelle Phan Sued Over Background Music

YouTube star Michelle Phan's make-up tutorial channel has more than 6.6 million subscribers and has landed her endorsement deals with big brands like Lancome and legions of dedicated fans.

But it seems record company Ultra Records is not a big fan. The record company -- home to some of the biggest names in electronic music like Deadmau5 and Calvin Harris -- has filed a lawsuit against the make-up artist claiming that the background music on some of her most popular videos was used without permission, reports TMZ.

Does the record label have a legitimate beef with Phan, or will her use of the songs fall under the "fair use" exception to copyright protections?

Dethroned Miss Delaware Sues Over Being 'Too Old'

Former Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre is suing state and national scholarship pageant associations for telling her she was too old to maintain her title.

And by old, Longacre means that she is 24. Miss America pageant rules state that "contestants must be 17 to 24 years old," and Longacre, who is gunning for the Miss America crown, will turn 25 in October. The News Journal reports that not only is Longacre suing to reclaim her crown, titles, and scholarships, but she is part of a $3 million suit that includes other contestants who were certified by the pageants and then disqualified.

Is Longacre really "too old" for Miss America?

Sandra Bullock's Stalker Encounter Revealed in Search Warrant

Search warrants used to gather evidence against actress Sandra Bullock's alleged stalker have revealed that the actress came face-to-face with a man police say is "obsessive and fixated" on Bullock inside her own home.

Joshua James Corbett, 39, is being charged with 19 felonies, including stalking charges, in connection with breaking into Bullock's Hollywood Hills mansion last month, reports the Los Angeles Times. The charges also include gun charges, after a subsequent search of Corbett's home turned up a stash of illegal weapons including several automatic rifles.

How did police catch this crazed super fan, and what can you do if someone is stalking you?

'Midnight Rider' Producers Charged in Camera Assistant's Death

Three producers of "Midnight Rider," a Gregg Allman biopic, have been charged in Georgia after the death of a camera assistant during a February shoot in rural Georgia.

Jody Savin, Randall Miller, and Jay Sedrish were indicted by a Georgia grand jury on July 2 on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in relation to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. The Los Angeles Times reports that in addition to Jones' death, six others were injured when a freight train "collided into the crew" during the movie's first day of production.

While things may not look good for the movie, is this the final legal cut for "Midnight Rider"'s producers?

Conor Oberst's Rape Accuser Admits She Lied

The North Carolina woman who accused Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst of rape has now changed her tune: She's admitted she made the whole thing up to "get attention."

In a notarized statement, Joanie Faircloth wrote that the online allegations she made late last year that Oberst raped her after a show were "100 percent false," Rolling Stone reports.

What compelled Faircloth to lie about the rape, and does Oberst have any legal recourse for damage done to his reputation?

Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart Over Fatal Crash

Comedian Tracy Morgan has filed a negligence lawsuit against Walmart, claiming the retailer is responsible for last month's truck crash that injured Morgan and killed another comedian.

Morgan's lawsuit claims Walmart Stores and its subsidiary, Walmart Transportation, should have known big rig driver Kevin Roper was on too little sleep when he crashed into the tour bus carrying Morgan and his entourage, reports The New York Times.

What are the facts behind this crash, and what will Morgan need to prove in court in order to prevail?

Justin Bieber's Vandalism Plea Deal: $80K, Anger Management Classes

Justin Bieber will have to pay the piper after pleading "no contest" to vandalism -- something to the tune of $80,900 in restitution. And that's not all the rabble-rousing pop star have to do.

The Biebs, charged with the misdemeanor egging a neighbor's house, accepted a plea deal which also includes two years of probation, five days of community service, and 12 weeks of anger management classes. CNN reports that Bieber didn't even appear in court on Wednesday to enter his plea, but Shawn Holley, a notable celebrity defense attorney, accepted the deal on his behalf.

Why so much fuss over a celebrity egging?

Insane Clown Posse's FBI Lawsuit Dismissed; 'Gang' Tag Sticks

A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit on behalf of rap group Insane Clown Posse and their fans challenging an FBI report that the group's legions of face-painting fans -- known as Juggalos -- amounted to a criminal gang.

The lawsuit, filed by the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), claimed that Juggalos have been targeted by law enforcement since a 2011 FBI report characterized them as a "loosely organized hybrid gang," according to The Associated Press.

Why did the judge toss the group's suit?

Phaedra Parks' Husband Apollo Nida Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

Apollo Nida, husband of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Phaedra Parks, has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

Nida's sentence will also include restitution to the victims of the $2 million bank, mail, and wire fraud scheme Nida was convicted of perpetrating, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

What was Nida's scheme, and how did the judge calculate the eight-year sentence?

'RHOA's' Kandi Burruss, Todd Tucker's Prenup Dust-Up: 3 Legal Lessons

"Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss and fiance Todd Tucker finally tied the knot on the finale of their spin-off show "Kandi's Wedding," but not before a contentious prenup dispute almost caused the couple to call it off.

Tucker, who had previously balked at signing what he considered an unfair agreement, relented after Burruss agreed to make revisions to certain terms of the prenup, reports Radar Online.

And although there was doubtlessly a little made-for-TV drama involved in this case, here are three lessons that can be learned from this prenup dust-up:

Flavor Flav Gets Popped for Illegal Fireworks in Vegas

Flavor Flav may have some legal sparks to extinguish after an allegedly illegal fireworks display got him cited at his Las Vegas home.

The former Public Enemy rapper, born William Drayton Jr., has reportedly spent thousands of dollars each year since 2009 to set off fireworks for his annual Fourth of July celebration. But the festivities ended with Las Vegas Metro Police slapping Flav with two citations Friday night, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Will Flavor Flav be going to jail for his fireworks show?

Katy Perry Sued by Gospel Rapper Over 'Dark Horse'

Pop star Katy Perry is being sued in federal court for allegedly stealing the song "Dark Horse" from a Christian rapper. But that's not all the suit accuses her of doing.

The complaint, filed this week in St. Louis by Grammy-nominated gospel rapper Flame and three other songwriters, claims that the religious message of their 2008 song "Joyful Noise" has been irreparably tarnished "by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music" in Perry's 2013 song "Dark Horse."

Katy Perry, a pagan witch magician?

Lindsay Lohan Sues 'GTA V' Makers for Allegedly Swiping Her Image

Lindsay Lohan is suing the makers of "Grand Theft Auto V" for allegedly basing a ditzy blond character on her image.

In Lohan's suit against Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (which owns Rockstar Games), she claims the character in question -- a digital buxom blonde named Lacey Jonas -- was a video game simulacrum of the "Mean Girls" actress' likeness, outfits, and hairstyle, the New York Daily News reports.

Does LiLo actually have a case against the makers of "GTA V"?

George Zimmerman's NBC Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed

A Florida court has dismissed a libel lawsuit against NBC filed by George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012.

In the suit, Zimmerman accused NBC of causing him to appear racist by editing the audio of a 911 call he made the night he shot Martin. The editing omitted a 911 operator's question to Zimmerman about Martin's race, making it appear that Zimmerman had brought up the topic himself. The network later admitted that it had edited the audio; it fired two employees and publicly apologized to Zimmerman, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

So why was Zimmerman's lawsuit tossed?

Amanda Bynes' Bong-Tossing Case Gets Tossed Out

Former "All That" star Amanda Bynes had her criminal case for bong-tossing tossed out on Monday after managing to stay out of trouble for a little bit.

The 28-year-old actress was charged with reckless endangerment and marijuana possession after New York police officers said they saw her "heave a bong out the window" of her 36th-floor Manhattan apartment. The Associated Press reports that the Manhattan Criminal Court had agreed to dismiss these charges if Bynes "stayed out of trouble" and went to counseling twice a week.

Is this the end of Bynes' criminal worries?