Tag Archives: lawsuit

MGM Sues Shooting Victims

In a blatant attempt to avoid liability for the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 festival, MGM Resorts International (owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel) has filed federal lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims.

MGM claims it isn’t at fault because the security vendor it hired followed Department of Homeland Security protocol and that it is covered by a federal act that extends liability protection to any company that uses anti-terrorism technology or services to help prevent and respond to mass violence.

The mass shooting left 58 concertgoers dead and hundreds injured. A lawsuit was filed in late November on behalf of 450 victims. It claims that MGM failed in its duty to monitor the activities of shooter Stephen Paddock as he hauled multiple weapons into a Mandalay Bay suite that overlooked the festival.

Attorney Robert Eglet, who has represented several of the shooting victims, called the move a “blatant display” of shopping for a sympathetic judge. “It is really sad that they would stoop to this level,” he adds.

Judge Dismisses Copyright Suit Against Taylor Swift

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that accused Local 257 (Nashville, TN) member Taylor Swift of copyright infringement relating to her hit song “Shake It Off.” Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler brought the suit arguing that the chorus of the song was borrowed from their song “Playas Gon’ Play.”

Hall and Butler’s song includes the line: “Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate,” and Swift’s song has the line: “Players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald ruled that the phrases “playas gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” do not entail sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection. “The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal,” he says.

Bid to Free “We Shall Overcome”

Arguments of originality and registration are not enough to save the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music from having to face a lawsuit. A group of plaintiffs cleared the first major hurdle in a lawsuit that aims to establish the unofficial anthem to the Civil Rights Movement is not really under copyright protection. A New York federal judge rejected a publisher’s bid to dismiss, ruling that the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that lyrics in the first verse of “We Shall Overcome” were copied from material in the public domain and that there has been a fraud on the US Copyright Office.

The defendants, the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music, have retained commercial control of the song since copyright registrations were made in the early 1960s. Royalties from the song are earmarked for the Highlander Research and Education Center to support art and research projects in the African-American community, as well as the preservation of Civil Rights Movement documents.

Lawsuits Claim Disney Colluded to Replace US Workers

Before being laid off from Walt Disney World, Orlando, one year ago, Leo Perrero spent months training a temporary immigrant from India to do his technology job. Along with former Disney employee Dena Moore, he has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Disney and two global consulting companies, HCL and Cognizant, which brought in foreign workers. The lawsuits represent the first time Americans have gone to federal court to sue both outsourcing companies and the American company that contracted with those businesses, alleging they collaborated intentionally to supplant Americans with H-1B workers.

The Labor Department is investigating the outsourcing at Disney, as well as at Southern California Edison, a utility that laid off hundreds of American workers in 2014. At least 30 former Disney workers filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that they faced discrimination as American citizens.

Women Farmworkers Win Massive Judgement

In early September the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a unanimous verdict of more than $17 million for victims of sexual harassment and retaliation at Moreno Farms, a small, now defunct farm outside of Immokalee, Florida. According to the EEOC suit two sons of the owner and a third male supervisor engaged in sexual harassment, including groping, propositioning, and threatening women. The five women awarded the judgement were fired for opposing the sexual harassment.

“EEOC has been at the forefront of combating employment discrimination on behalf of farmworkers,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez, in a press release. “We are committed to ensuring that all immigrant and vulnerable populations are protected by the anti-discrimination laws, and this is the latest in a number of successful cases that we have litigated to stop these discriminatory practices.”

The AFM Sues French Company for Failure to Pay Bands

The AFM has filed suit against the French company KIDAM, and to date the AFM has not received any payments for more than 20 bands that were recorded at the Winter Jazzfest for commercial broadcast on French television. It has been more than seven months since KIDAM entered into an agreement to pay wages and benefits for music recorded at Winter Jazzfest, and yet these musicians have not received payment by the Paris company.

“These folks should not feel they can get away with filming, recording, and widely broadcasting our work without meeting the terms they agreed to with Local 802 and the American Federation of Musicians,” said pianist, composer and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill in a press release. “We walk a tightrope as musicians, trying to survive, and musicians should never be treated as KIDAM has treated us.”

“The musicians of Winter Jazzfest do not deserve to wait indefinitely for payment as this company profits from their work,” adds Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi. “We must hold KIDAM accountable and ensure that these extraordinarily talented musicians get paid for their work.”

The lawsuit states that KIDAM signed a “Single Project Letter of Agreement” January 7, 2015 in adherence to the AFM Television Videotape Agreement. The agreement details wages and benefits for musicians for future broadcast on the commercial French television station Mezzo, which reaches approximately 16 million subscribers in 39 countries.

Possible Settlement in Sony Class Action Suit

Attorneys for Sony ex-employees have reached an agreement in principle with Sony Pictures in their class action suit resulting from last year’s hack and their compromised personal data. Attorney Daniel Girard told The Hollywood Reporter that the deal came together after months of discussions and a mediation session. Sony’s motion to dismiss was denied, but the judge has not yet ruled whether there is enough commonality in the claims to file a class action suit nor whether specific damages could be proven due to other corporate hacks that have occurred. The former employees will have the opportunity to opt out of claims to continue separate legal action against Sony.

NBCUniversal Go to Trial Over Age Discrimination Claim

A trial is scheduled for November 2 to determine if former investigative reporter Frank Snepp was fired due to age discrimination. Snepp’s career as an investigative journalist began following a stint as a CIA analyst. However, Snepp made the news in 1980 when a landmark Supreme Court ruling upheld his confidentiality obligations with US Government over his First Amendment rights as a whistleblower in regards to his Vietnam-focused book Decent Interval. As an investigative reporter, his award-winning stories covered breaking news about the Iran Contra scandal, Monica Lewinski, SEAL Team 6, and more. In 2006 he was hired by LA’s KNBC as a field producer, two years later re-hired as a content producer, then fired in 2012, at age 69. Snepp has submitted evidence of ageist statements from NBC that he should quit or retire because of his age. NBC claims he was fired for inadequate performance.

British Songwriters Take Legal Action Against SoundCloud

According to Variety, PRS for Music, a British songwriter agency, has initiated legal action against music streaming site SoundCloud amid claims that the service is not paying royalties and securing licenses from its artists. A letter to the group’s members stated that the action follows five years of unsuccessful negotiations. A SoundCloud spokesperson told Variety that the service is “working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners, including record labels, publishers, and independent artists.”

Comcast Discrimination Lawsuit Reopened

According to Variety, A federal judge has reopened a $20 billion racial bias case filed against Comcast and Time Warner Cable by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks, which claims that Comcast shut out African-American owned channels from its lineups. Allen, who says he will file an amended complaint with “greater detail and greater clarity,” now has until September 21. The National Association of African American Owned Media is a co-plaintiff in the suit.

First filed in February, Allen’s suit also names as defendants the NAACP, the National Urban League, Al Sharpton, the National Action Network, as well as Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Comcast executive and FCC commissioner. The suit claims that, in getting approval for the 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal, Comcast entered into “sham” memorandums of understanding with civil rights groups to cover up its discriminatory business practices.

US District Judge Terry Hatter had dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice earlier this month, concluding that the plaintiffs had “failed to allege a plausible claim for relief,” but then reopened it last week. The burden is on the plaintiffs to overcome Hatter’s original objections. Comcast previously called the suit “frivolous,” while Sharpton said it is without basis.