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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

Fresh Filings

Notable court filings in entertainment law.


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Fanatics, an online hub for licensed sports merchandise, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Florida Southern District Federal Court over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods. The court case, filed by Stephen M. Gaffigan PA, pursues claims against e-commerce operators. The case is Fanatics LLC v., 0:23-cv-62354. The estate of music producer Jose Angel Hernandez, also known as Flow La Movie, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Helidosa Aviation Group in Florida Middle District Court. The suit, filed by Podhurst Orseck PA, comes nearly two years after a Dec. 15, 2021, plane crash that killed Hernandez, his wife and seven other passengers on their way back to Florida from the Dominican Republic. According to the complaint, the flight crew reported ground spoiler issues on the date of the flight, but the plane took off anyway. The case is Hernandez v. Helidosa Aviation Group S.A., 6:23-cv-02402. ALLBLK, a streaming service featuring entertainment created and starring artists of color, was hit with a debt collection class action in Florida Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County. The court action, filed by Law Office of Jibrael S. Hindi, accuses the defendant of violating the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act by sending emails after 9 p.m. The case is Sancruzado v. RLJ Entertainment Inc., 2023-028097-CA-01. J Master Properties LLC d/b/a Brian Dempsey’s, Jason Reyes and Zenobia Reyes have been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Lonstein Law Office on behalf of Zuffa LLC d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), accuses the defendant of showing the plaintiff’s UFC fight broadcast in their bar without paying a commercial license fee. The case is Zuffa LLC v. Reyes, 1:23-cv-09165. Innovative Sports Management filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court. The lawsuit, filed by Lonstein Law Office, accuses Smoked Barn of Peru of unlawfully sharing the Oct. 2021 broadcast of the South American World Cup qualifier match between Argentina and Peru. The case is Innovative Sports Management Inc. v. Vargas, 1:23-cv-09162. … Cooley and Rottenberg Lipman Rich filed a lawsuit under the Visual Artists Rights Act in New York Eastern District Federal Court accusing the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. of misappropriating and destroying certain works of art. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Greene Naftali Gallery and Gedi Sibony, claims the defendant removed and destroyed a trailer containing original art pieces, causing over $2 million in damages. The plaintiffs assert that “The King and the Corpse,” a piece which listed at $400,000 and was featured in The New Yorker, was one of the pieces destroyed. The case is Sibony v. Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., 1:23-cv-09145. Content provider Produccion & Distribucion Corp. has been sued for copyright infringement in Florida Southern District Federal Court. The court action, filed by CopyCat Legal PLLC on behalf of Creative Photographers Inc., accuses the defendant of displaying the plaintiff’s photograph of actress Sofia Vergara on its website without permission. The case is Creative Photographers Inc. v. Produccion & Distribucion Corp., 1:23-cv-24718. Passages International has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New Jersey District Federal Court arising from a terminated contract to distribute biodegradable sculptures. The court case was filed by attorney R. Terry Parker Esq. on behalf of artist Laura Bruzzese, who accuses the defendant of selling infringing works. The case is Bruzzese v. Passages International Inc., 3:23-cv-23047. Epic Sports & Entertainment sued Greg Cohen Promotions, Bulldog Boxing Promotions and other defendants for fraud and breach of contract in New York Supreme Court, New York County. The suit, brought by Sullivan & Galleshaw, accuses convicted felon Greg Cohen of forming Bulldog to shield assets from creditors as well as continue promoting heavyweight boxers despite his ineligibility due to his conviction. The case is Epic Sports & Entertainment Inc. v. Cohen. The National Women’s Soccer League, its players association and law firms Covington & Burling and Weil, Gotshal & Manges are named in a defamation lawsuit filed in Texas District Court, Harris County, by a former head coach of the Houston Dash women’s soccer team. The suit, filed by Minces Rankin PLLC on behalf of James Clarkson, seeks more than $1 million in monetary damages. Clarkson accuses the firms and certain individual partners of defaming him in a Dec. 2022, report pertaining to claims of discrimination, abuse and harassment against players. The case is Clarkson v. Kramer, 202384755. Google and its parent Alphabet were hit with an antitrust class action in District of Columbia District Federal Court accusing the companies of harming independent news publishers in the digital space. The suit was brought by Hausfeld and Roberts Law Firm on behalf of Helena World Chronicle and other publishers accusing the defendants of using their market power to coerce smaller publishers to allow Google to extract their content and publish it, diverting readers and advertising dollars. The case is Helena World Chronicle LLC v. Google LLC, 1:23-cv-03677. Skillz, a gaming and esports platform, sued the company’s former senior director of engineering in Nevada District Court, Clark County. The lawsuit, filed by Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, accuses Meidad Glory of soliciting employees that he managed at Skillz to join a competing company. The case is Skillz Inc. v. Meidad Glory, A-23-883156-C. Alt Platform Inc., which operates an online auction platform for trading cards, has sued Joseph Barucci for breach of contract in New York Southern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Hammervold Law, accuses the defendant of colluding with a third party to bid up the price of the plaintiff’s grade PSA 9 Cade Cunningham trading card and refusing to refund a $213,000 advance. The case is Alt Platform Inc. v. Barucci, 1:23-cv-10737. Questex LLC was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in Massachusetts District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Higbee & Associates on behalf of professional makeup artist Hung Vanngo, alleges that the defendant displayed the plaintiff’s photographs, including photographs of singer/actress Selena Gomez and model Emily Ratajowski, on social media pages without permission. The case is Vanngo v. Questex LLC, 1:23-cv-13032. DraftKings was hit with a consumer class action in Massachusetts Superior Court, Middlesex County. The lawsuit, filed by Public Health Advocacy Institute, contends that the defendant deceptively advertised a $1,000 bonus to consumers who opened a new account but did not clarify that consumers needed to bet $25,000 within 90 days in order to qualify for the bonus. The case is Scanlon v. Draftkings Inc., 2381CV03402. Netflix and the Hollywood writers and production studio behind the 2021 film Don’t Look Up were sued for copyright infringement in California Central District Federal Court. The suit was filed by Lowe & Associates on behalf of William Collier, who claims the dark comedy is based on his original novel Stanley’s Comet. In addition to Netflix, the suit names screenwriter and producer Adam McKay, co-writer David Sirota and production studios Hyperobject Industries and Bluegrass Films. The case is Collier v. Netflix, 2:23-cv-10227. Dorrance Publishers filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement and cybersquatting in Pennsylvania Western District Federal Court. The court action, brought by R. James Law, targets Dorrance Book Writers and other defendants for allegedly using a logo and name which is “almost identical” to the plaintiff’s to offer similar services on The case is Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. v. Dorrance Book Writers, 2:23-cv-02076. Sega, the multinational video game developer, and its subsidiary Atlus Co. Ltd. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Federal Court over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods. The suit, filed by Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, pursues claims against unidentified e-commerce operators. The case is Sega Corp. v. The Individuals, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A Hereto, 1:23-cv-16520. APM Music — a production music company whose catalog contains well-known recordings from TV, film and video games — sued indie label Stones Throw Records for copyright infringement in California Central District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Johnson & Johnson LLP, accuses the defendant of sampling from the plaintiff’s catalog to make derivative works without permission. The case is Associated Production Music LLC v. Stones Throw Records LLC, 2:23-cv-10220. … Kleinbard LLC filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract in Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, in connection with a partnership agreement to organize dinner events for non-party Al Jazeera Media Network. The suit, filed on behalf of PR firm WIT Strategy, claims that The Room Events failed to meet its obligations under the agreement, including a refusal to furnish structured content or discussion questions for attendees, allegedly causing over $150,000 in damages. The case is Wit Strategy LLC v. The Room Events LLC, 231200434. Fox Rothschild filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court centered on an agreement to promote the song “Collide” by Justin Skye. The suit, filed on behalf of MPR Global, seeks $500,000 and takes aim at Skye, Nynetineth LLC and Novalie Perry for allegedly failing to make payments or provide an accounting. The case is MPR Global LLC v. Nynetineth LLC, 1:23-cv-08929. Simon & Schuster and its imprint Adams Media have been sued for copyright infringement and breach of contract in Massachusetts District Federal Court. The lawsuit, brought by Chavous Intellectual Property Law LLC on behalf of best-selling author Martin Yate, accuses the defendants of copying and distributing three of the plaintiff’s books without authorization. The complaint alleges: “Unbeknownst to Yate, Simon took three of these titles and turned them into a collection. They repeated this in three separate collections, one print and two Ebook collections with each collection featuring three of Yate’s titles; none were reported to Yate and no royalties ever paid.” The case is Yate v. Adams Media Inc., 1:23-cv-12896.  Rappers Charly & Johayron, Planet Records and Extraordinary Songs have been hit with a lawsuit in Florida Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County, alleging tortious interference with exclusive publishing contracts. The suit was filed by Hachar Law Group on behalf of Laum Publishing, which asserts that the rappers breached their agreements by working with Planet to create the songs “Pina Colada” and “Diamante,” and allegedly claiming falsely that the agreements with Laum were not valid. The case is Laum Publishing LLC v. Chirino, 2023-027014. Fender Musical Instruments was hit with a digital privacy lawsuit in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County. The suit, brought by Pacific Trial Attorneys on behalf of serial plaintiff Bryan Diaz, is part of a wave of cases accusing companies of collecting and storing online “chat” communications in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The case is Diaz v. Fender Musical Instruments Corp., 23STCV27893.

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