Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

March 2016 Archives

Recording Blues: Brandy Sues Her Label

Recording artist Brandy has terminated her contract and is suing her label, Chameleon Entertainment, for $1 million dollars. She claims she's being thwarted -- not allowed to record or release music -- and bullied into signing a "terrible deal," according to Courthouse News Service.

The singer, known in court as Brandy Norwood, argues that the label breached its contract with her by refusing to let her work. This effort to force her to sign another inferior deal with Epic Records benefits Breyon Prescott, Chameleon's owner and CEO who also works for Epic, by allowing him to double dip, she says. The pop star wants compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged bullying tactics.

Frances Bean Cobain Divorcing, Seeks to Keep Inheritance

Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of deceased Nirvana lead Kurt Cobain and Hole's Courtney Love, is all grown up and getting a divorce. The young woman, 23, cited irreconcilable differences in her split from Isaiah Silva after only 21 months of marriage.

Cobain's divorce filing requests that she be allowed to keep the entirety of her father's $450 million estate, reports People. She is however reportedly open to paying Silva -- a rocker, like her father -- spousal support. The two were together for five years before getting married in a small, secret ceremony (mom, Courtney Love, did not attend).

Elton John Security Guard Sues, Claims Years of Sexual Abuse

Elton John, who is known for his thoughtful love songs, is facing a lawsuit for sexual abuse. A former longtime bodyguard of the singer's filed a lawsuit alleging a long pattern of abuse taking place over years. Elton John's lawyers have denied the allegations in the suit and said that Captain Jeffrey Wenninger's claims are completely false.

"This baseless lawsuit is brought by a disgruntled former security officer seeking to extract an undeserved payment," Orin Snyder, Elton John's attorney for Rocket Entertainment Group, said in a statement. But Wenninger's claims are quite detailed and he says that the actions went on for several years.

We complained last week that none of show's subplots were hitting home. That all changed this week.

Alicia's affair with Jason finally collided with her marriage to Peter. The first dominoes (and partners) began to fall in Diane's plan to have women take over the firm. And the grand jury investigation into Peter is finally impacting someone we care about. Oh and drones -- there were some drones, too. Here's your legal primer on last night's episode, "Unmanned."

Madonna Gets Warning From NY DOT for Illegal 'No Parking' Signs

Madonna's Upper East Side neighbors are upset with the pop superstar. She posted fake "no parking" signs outside her townhouse, and painted a yellow line along the curb to block people from parking there, among other violations of Department of Transportation rules.

Well, she probably didn't do it herself -- based on what neighbors say, it seems likely the star's staff took action on her behalf. They're apparently accustomed to directing foot and automobile traffic around the building so that Madonna can exit the garage unnoticed. Her neighbors complain that the star behaves outrageously and reportedly like to joke to each other that she plays her song, "Bi--h I'm Madonna" while driving by them laughing.

NJ Actor Faces Decade in Prison for Film Shooting

An unknown New Jersey actor and comedian is making national headlines with a bit part in an unfinished independent film. But he's still waiting for his big break.Carlo Goias -- stage name Carlos Bellario -- faces ten years in prison for shooting a prop Airsoft gun without a permit during the shooting of a film in New Jersey.

The accused this week turned down a plea deal involving less than a year in jail, according to Salon. He is opting instead to fight the charges despite the fact that he faces up to a decade in prison for this crime, based on his prior record.

Move Over Judge Judy: Sarah Palin Signs TV Judge Deal

Sarah Palin is not a lawyer but she might soon play one on TV. Specifically, she has signed a deal to preside over a courtroom on a new arbitration entertainment show that has not yet been made or sold but is expected to appear next year, in the fall of 2017.

Unlike her TV judge predecessors -- most famously, Judge Joseph Wapner and Judge Judy Sheindlin -- Sarah Palin did not attend law school or pass the bar exam, so she cannot be a judge in real life. But Palin has got something else. She is telegenic and has "common sense wisdom," a source close to the deal between Palin and the production company, Warm Springs, told People.

Celebrity Baby Formula Recipe May Endanger Kids

As a culture, we get excited about celebrities and follow famous people's moves carefully, perhaps because their riches seem to indicate wisdom. The problem with this practice is that we may end up endangering ourselves or others -- like our kids -- when we copy whatever crazy fad a celebrity mother is following.

The latest advice on child-rearing is brought to us by Kristin Cavallari, a 29-year-old-woman who became famous as a reality TV Star on a show about aspiring California fashion designers, called "The Hills." Cavallari is promoting a book, Balancing in Heels, in which she reveals her homemade goat's milk baby food formula. Be very careful about copying that recipe.

$115M Awarded to Hulk Hogan in Gawker Sex-Tape Case

Former wrestler Hulk Hogan was brought to tears by a jury verdict last week. It was a victory for him, as Hogan was the plaintiff in an invasion of privacy case against Gawker media.

The website Gawker.com published a video of Hogan sleeping with a former friend's wife and the star sued for invasion of privacy. A Florida jury agreed completely with Hogan's complaint that the sex tape was not news and awarded him $115 million. But the case isn't over, according to The New York Times, and Gawker may still face financial review for punitive damages.

Pistols, plagiarism, and public sex. Oh and the ever-present law firm politics and the never-ending grand jury investigation. Just another day here at "The Good Wife" offices.

With only a few episodes left in the landmark series, it's hard to tell where this story is going, if anywhere. Is Alicia going out with a bang, or a whimper? And what's the deal with suing gun shops? Here's your legal and love story recap from last night's episode, "Shoot."

Katt Williams Sued for Torturing Woman With Witches and Punches

Comedian, rapper, and actor Katt Williams is known for his bizarre antics but even he has managed to surprise celebrity media. A lawsuit filed against Williams by an actress named Jamila Majesty claims that the comedian "organized a beatdown on her that included Wiccan sorcery," reports TMZ.

According to Majesty, the comedian invited her to his Malibu home two years ago, and it was a very weird visit. The actress is suing Williams for assault and battery, false imprisonment, and emotional distress.

Elvis Guitar Fight Moves Forward in Federal Court

The legendary king of rock n' roll is still an international icon, and Elvis Presley's possessions are highly prized, particularly his guitars. Now a dispute over ownership of a guitar he broke on his last tour in 1977 will go forward after a federal judge in South Dakota determined that dismissal of the case is inappropriate, according to Courthouse News Service.

The instrument in question is a Martin D-55 (or Martin D-35, according to the Associated Press) that Elvis reportedly played in a concert in the last winter of his life and was given to a female fan. The King died in the summer of 1977 in his mansion, Graceland. The guitar has changed hands many times since. Let's take a look at the issues in this case.

Lindsay Lohan's Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit Survives

Actress Lindsay Lohan is almost as famous for her real life antics as her on-screen performances. She famously eluded police in an SUV in New York City a while ago and is now suing the video game Grand Theft Auto for a violation of New York Civil Rights Law, saying the gaming company is illegally using her likeness for a character.

Lohan complained that Lacey Jonas, a game character, refers to her and has a similar biography. The defendant, Take-Two, which owns Rockstar Games, maker of Grand Theft Auto, moved to dismiss Lohan's initial compliant and now her amended complaint. But a judge is allowing the case to move forward, saying that Lohan's statements in her pleading sufficiently allege a cause of action, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Lil' Wayne's Lawyer Sues Star for $300,000 in Fees

It sometimes seems that we all have similar problems, no matter what we do and no matter how much we get paid for it, or how little. You might imagine that a lawyer to the stars has no trouble getting paid. But that is not what Michael B. Kramer is claiming in his lawsuit against rapper Lil' Wayne.

Known as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. in court, Lil' Wayne reportedly owes his lawyer $300,000, writes the New York Daily News. Kramer and Wayne reportedly had a payment plan in place since December. But last month Lil' Wayne flaked on paying, and Kramer has filed suit.

LA County Animal Care Probes Pig Attack on 'Cesar 911'

We love bacon and slaughter countless pigs annually to indulge our passion for salty and fatty meats. But we just can't stand to see a pot-bellied pig hurt on TV.

Or that's the impression that has arisen after an animal rights activist called media outlet TMZ and the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control after an airing of Cesar Millan's Nat-Geo Show "Cesar 911." The complaint was about cruelty to a pig and it prompted a county investigation, plus lots of national media coverage.

50 Cent in Bankruptcy Court for Broke Joke Post

The rapper 50 Cent has a big social media following in great part because he is unabashed about what he shares and not filtered by a slick marketing team. But it might be time for him to hire some PR people because his Instagram post boasting stacks of cash just got him in trouble with a judge, according to Mashable.

Curtis Jackson, as he is known in court, declared bankruptcy last year and yet, the ironically named 50 Cent -- whose Instagram account has lots of pictures of money and luxury -- was surrounded in a photo by dollar bills arranged to read "BROKE." It would have been a great joke if it didn't get him hauled into court.

Indio Downey, Son of Robert, Gets Case Dismissed in LA Court

Actor Robert Downey Jr. was once considered a wild guy. Now he is the star of the Iron Man superhero movies and he even got a pardon from Governor Jerry Brown late last year for past convictions.

His son is following in most of his footsteps, and that applies to drugs and crime, as well as a career in the movies. Indio Downey this week had his criminal case dismissed by a judge after he submitted evidence that he successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program, according to the New York Daily News.

Erin Andrews Awarded $55 Million, Ending Peeping Tom Trial

A jury awarded sportscaster and TV personality Erin Andrews $55 million in damages in a civil suit against a stalker and a Nashville, Tennessee Marriott that gave him a room right next to hers in 2008. Andrews initially sought $75 million and this case stems from the 2009 release of a video that shows Andrews naked in her hotel room.

It was taken by Michael David Barrett, who has since served a criminal sentence for stalking, and now owes a hefty damages award he probably will not be able to pay. This may not be the end of the story, however, as an appeal is still possible, according to ABC News.

Did Gawker Invade Hulk Hogan's Privacy With Sex Tape Publication?

Former wrestler Hulk Hogan is taking on a different kind of opponent today, Gawker Media. Opening statements were heard in his suit in Florida against the website for posting a sex tape that shows him sleeping with shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge's wife in 2012, according to Reuters.

"They have essentially replaced sticks and stones with clicks and phones," Hogan's attorney said of Gawker. The Hulk and the Love Sponge were best friends before the scandal, one of a few for Hogan. They aren't anymore and Hogan says Gawker invaded his privacy by publicizing the tape. Here's the story, and why Gawker claims it was just reporting.

Welcome back to The Good Wife, where nobody wears any clothes anymore, apparently.

Just kidding. Although we were treated to an extended opening featuring the mostly naked new Alicia-Jason affair (complete with roaring lions in the background), eventually everyone got dressed and went to court. Here's your legal need-to-know from last night's episode, "Hearing."

Hollywood Attorney Hints at Spring Celeb Divorces

They walked down the red carpet together hand in hand, glowing, glamorous, and gorgeous. But just watch, there will be a few celebrity divorces filed soon, now that the Oscars are over, or so says attorney to the stars Laura Wasser, according to US Magazine.

Wasser has handled many famous ladies' divorces -- three Kardashians, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, and Maria Shriver -- and she told Bloomberg Businessweek that she expects to file a bunch more divorces in March. She says that after walking the red carpet clutching each other lovingly, many couples will be ready to kiss goodbye for good.

Reese Witherspoon Sued for Copyright Infringement on Logo

Reese Witherspoon has made a fortune being a smart blonde actress playing a simple southern gal you could sip lemonade with on the porch. She says she likes to dress up for church, tailgate, and enjoy iced tea (sometimes spiked?).

So she decided to capitalize on that image with a jewelry line called Draper James, inspired by her personal style. She did this after being approached by East Coast designers who just didn't get her, says Witherspoon. Only the Draper James logo supposedly infringes on another designer's copyright, according to The Daily Mail. Let's look at the claim.

WA Prosecutors Review Salma Hayek's Dog's Death

Salma Hayek's dog was killed by a neighbor in the Seattle area in mid-February and the shooting was ruled justified by the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, NBC News reports. Nonetheless, the county will send the case of the actress's shot dog to prosecutors for review, said spokesman Lt. Cliff Ziesemer.

Hayek's neighbor, who is an animal lover and dog owner, has expressed deep regret over Hayek's dog's death. She wasn't aware that it belonged to the actress, or even that the dog was dead. Here's what reportedly happened.

PA Court Won't Review Sherri Shepherd Surrogacy Appeal

When a woman goes to the trouble and expense of arranging a surrogate to carry a baby for her, she usually wants a kid pretty bad. Often, this follows many other less extreme efforts to have a child, and many in this situation fear that the surrogate will change her mind and decide that the baby she carried for nine months is hers. But the case of Sherry Shepherd shows that you just never know how things will go.

The actress and former hostess of "The View," Sherri Shepherd, lost her quest to appeal a Pennsylvania court ruling that she is responsible for the child she commissioned. According to The Daily Mail, Shepherd will continue to have to pay $4,100 a month in child support to her now ex-husband, as Pennsylvania's Court of Appeals refused to hear the claim.

Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in Dull Legal Dispute

The Most Interesting Man in the World is in the dullest of disputes, a legal battle over whether commissions were due his talent management agency. Jonathon Goldsmith, who plays Dos Equis Beer's advertising character, is being sued under a 2012 contract by a talent agency for its commission from the beer commercials, according to Ad Age.

The actor says the suit brought by Gold Levin Talent is frivolous and is jeopardizing his campaign with Dos Equis. He has countersued. Meanwhile the beer company claims it has no dog in the fight.