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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

Fresh Filings

Notable court filings in entertainment law.


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Lucasfilm, a Disney company, and C.C Filson Co. were sued for trademark infringement in California Northern District Federal Court in relation to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The court action, brought by Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae on behalf of Superior Tech LLC, accuses the defendants of unlawfully using the plaintiff’s “geologist pack” throughout the film and in promotional trailers. The case is Superior Tech LLC dba Frost River v. C.C Filson, 3:23-cv-03581. AMC Theatres was hit with a digital privacy class action in Kansas District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Berger Montague and Cowing & Mendelson, accuses the defendant of disclosing info to Facebook about moviegoers’ ticket purchases in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The case is Bretto et al. v. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., 2:23-cv-02317. Law Offices of Theida Salazar filed a breach of contract, unjust enrichment and accounting lawsuit in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, on behalf of rapper Anthony Wheaton (p/k/a Sir Jinx). The plaintiff seeks royalty payments for the song “Dope,” which he claims he wrote and served as producer for under a contract with Grand Hustle Records. The complaint alleges: “Defendants completely breached the Agreement by failing to comply with the terms within the Agreement. The failure to pay without any waiver of Agreement or modification of the Agreement demonstrates the Defendants’ breached the established Agreement in this case.” The case is Wheaton v. Grand Hustle Records LLC, 23STCV16662. HBO, Cooler Waters Productions, Warner Media and other defendants were hit with a wrongful termination lawsuit in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County. The court case was filed by Michael Martinez Law on behalf of a “John Doe” plaintiff who contends that he was subjected to harassment, discrimination and retaliation on the basis of sexual orientation and disability. The case is Doe v. Home Box Office Inc., 23STCV16785. KWES Television and parent company TEGNA were hit with an employment lawsuit in Texas Western District Federal Court. The suit was brought by Lynch Chappell & Alsup on behalf of marketing and production staffer Lonnie Richardson, who was allegedly terminated after refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The case is Richardson v. KWES Television LLC, 7:23-cv-00113. The Walt Disney Company was hit with a copyright infringement and state and federal unfair competition lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court. The complaint was filed by Aaronson & Aaronson on behalf of Johnson Entertainment LLC and John William Kaipo Enos, the creators of the show Honu by the Sea. The court action contends that Disney misappropriated the Honu character for theatrical performances at its Aulani Resort. According to the complaint: “Enos previously worked as an independent contractor for Disney in the capacity of a songwriter and producer. In 2008, Enos met with Disney employees Shelby Jiggets and Marilyn Magness at the offices of Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California. Enos discussed Honu By The Sea with Jiggets and Magness during a lunch meeting to see if there was any interest in working together on Honu By The Sea future endeavors. … Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that in or around 2018, Disney unveiled its Friends of Duffy characters and entertainment at its Aulani Resort which it owns and operates in Ko Olina, Hawaii. One of these characters, ‘Olu,’ happens to be a sea turtle with strikingly similar features to Plaintiff’s Honu. Like Honu, ‘Olu’ has bright blue eyes, similar spotting on the hands and feet, and plays the ukulele. What’s more, the two characters have phonetically similar names and Disney even subsequently changed its character’s name to ‘Olu Mel’ which blatantly copies Plaintiffs’ Honu ‘Mele series’ in which its Honu character performs a collection of songs with his ukulele.” The case is Enos v. The Walt Disney Co., 2:23-cv-05790. Allen & Overy partner Lisa Nguyen and associate William Wray have entered appearances for defendant Niantic, the maker of Pokémon Go and other augmented reality games, in a pending patent lawsuit. The complaint was filed in California Northern District Federal Court by Ramey LLP on behalf of Flick Intelligence LLC. The suit asserts a patent for a computer program that retrieves and displays supplemental information about a video game or other digital media product. The case, assigned to U.S. District Judge Kandis A Westmore, is Flick Intelligence LLC v. Niantic Inc., 4:23-cv-02219. … Weitz & Luxenberg and Turke & Strauss filed a data breach class action in New York Supreme Court, New York County, against international publishing company MacMillan Publishers Inc. The suit, which accuses the defendant of failing to implement adequate data security measures, arises from a  breach impacting the personal identifiable information of thousands on individuals. The action is filed by three former employees Victoria Batchelor, Diana Griffin and Jaime Ariza, who say they and over 19,000 others were harmed during a data breach that went undetected by the company for over nine days. The lawsuit alleges hackers had access to names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, financial account information, and online account login credentials for current and former employees. Though the breach occurred in June 2022, current and former employees were not notified that their personally identifiable information (PII) had been compromised until December, the action alleges. The lawsuit claims Macmillan failed to follow guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission identifying best data security practices and failed to implement industry-standard security procedures and notify current and former employees of the breach in a timely manner. The plaintiffs are suing for negligence, breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment. “Instead of providing a reasonable level of security, or retention policies, that would have prevented the Data Breach, Defendant instead calculated to avoid its data security obligations at the expense of Plaintiffs and Class Members by utilizing cheaper, ineffective security measures,” the lawsuit claims. “Plaintiffs and Class Members, on the other hand, suffered as a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s failure to provide the requisite security.” The case is Batchelor v. MacMillan, 157072/2023. Attorneys at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings removed a personal injury lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment to Tennessee Eastern District Federal Court. The complaint was filed by the Toll Firm on behalf of an attendee of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The case is Smith v. Live Nation Worldwide Inc., 4:23-cv-00025. State Farm filed an insurance coverage lawsuit against clinical counselor Jacqueline Getchius and her parents Adeline Denison and Steven Denison in Minnesota District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Haws-KM PA, seeks a declaration that State Farm has no duty to defend or indemnify Getchius in the Denisons’ underlying defamation lawsuit accusing Getchius of making false accusations about the Denisons in her 2022 memoir That’s My Mom. The case is State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Getchius, 0:23-cv-02153. AMC Entertainment was hit with a shareholder lawsuit in Delaware Court of Chancery. The lawsuit, brought by Ballard Spahr on behalf of Kevin Barnes, seeks to compel AMC to hold an annual stockholder meeting. The case is 2023-0718-, Kevin Barnes v. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. The lawsuit claims: “The Company has not held an annual meeting of stockholders in the last 13 months. Nor has there been any action by written consent of AMC’s stockholders to elect directors in lieu of an annual meeting.” Latham & Watkins filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Pennsylvania Eastern District Federal Court over merchandise sold at Beyonce’s Renaissance world tour. The suit was brought on behalf of Parkwood Merch, which sought to enjoin others from selling counterfeit goods in the vicinity of the musical artist’s July performance at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The case is Parkwood Merch LLC v. Does 1 – 100, 2:23-cv-02620.

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