La-la-lawsuits: A Look at February’s Finest Litigious Moments

February 28th, 2012

Paul Tarascio, former stage manager of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” has sued Jimmy Fallon for gender discrimination, claiming that after he was fired in 2010 he replaced by a “totally incompetent woman.”

Sister Sledge is suing Warner Music Group in an attempt to re-categorize digital sales as licenses, a change that could mean millions in extra royalties.

Kenny Rogers is also suing his label, Capitol/EMI, over the issue of digital royalty calculations as well as false accounting.  His suit additionally alleges that Rogers received no compensation following EMI’s successful settlements with Limewire, Grokster, and Napster.  For a full description of Rogers’ claims against Capitol, check out this Digital Music News article.

An anti-merger lawsuit was filed against SAG and its officers, alleging that that proposal to merge the two unions omits “necessarily due diligence” and is “deceptive.”  The merger would merge the unions, but not the pension and health plans, which are legally separate entities. Plaintiffs include Martin Sheen, Edward Asner, Ed Harris, Valerie Harper, Nancy Sinatra, former guild president Alan Rosenberg and current board members Anne-Marie Johnson and David Jolliffe.

A federal judge rejected a lawsuit brought by Michael Jordan against Jewel-Osco for a congratulatory ad the company ran when Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame three years ago.  The court rejected Jordan’s argument that the ad infringed upon his trademark and instead determined that the advertisement was “noncommercial speech,” protected by the First Amendment, and that there was no indication of a “commercial transaction” in the ad.

Paramount Pictures has sued the estate of Mario Puzo, author of the book The Godfather on which the iconic films are based.  The estate released sequels to the book in 2004 and 2006 and is set to release another one later this year.  Paramount is seeking damages and preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the sequel’s release, arguing that the sequels violate its trademark and copyright interests in the Godfather franchise and story.