In celebration of Tax Day today, we here at Law Law Land offer tribute to our favorite celebrity/IRS run-ins. Now, lest you think this is just another list airing dirty celebrity tax laundry, think again. This is a classy publication, as you well know, so if you’re looking for dirt on which celebrities owe what, look elsewhere. . . like
In February, I wrote about a particularly fake-haired boneheaded lawsuit that Donald Trump brought against comedian Bill Maher. As you may recall, Trump accused Maher of breach of contract based on a joke that Maher had made on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, in which he had jokingly — really, completely obviously, jokingly — offered $5 million to the charity of Trump’s choice (the Hair Club for Men was Maher’s suggestion) if the real-estate mogul-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-national-punchline could provide proof that he was not, in fact, “the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Ignoring the scientific impossibility of humans and orangutans being capable of producing offspring, and surely torturing his poor lawyer (whom he conscripted to respond to Maher), Trump purported to “accept” this offer by sending Maher a letter enclosing a copy of his birth certificate (short form only, though!) and demanding payment of the $5 million. When Maher did not respond to the letter, Trump went bananas and filed a lawsuit.
After recounting Bill Maher’s hilarious response to the lawsuit, I boldly joined the near-consensus of legal observers in predicting that Trump would lose the lawsuit. And I’m here to report, I was wrong — Trump never even had a chance to lose the case, because he dismissed the lawsuit himself, perhaps as a result of his lawyers reaching the same conclusion I did. (Or perhaps, Trump’s simian brain finally realized that the situation had evolved beyond his control.)
[In honor of Super Bowl XLVII — because everyone knows that Roman numerals make everything very distinguished and significant — we’re bringing back one of our most-read, and most personally-favored posts. Enjoy your SUPER BOWL PARTY, everyone.]
Unless you live here, I’m assuming you’re aware of a little football game taking place this weekend between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. (And maybe, just maybe, you might have heard something — but probably nothing original — about that whole Harbowl storyline. Well here’s a little-known wrinkle about it.)
I’m as excited as anyone for the game, which is why, this Sunday, I might try to find a local bar hosting a Super Bowl party. But I’ll probably be out of luck, unless I’m willing to go to a “Big Game” party instead. And if I’m feeling spendthrift — the always-confusing word that sounds like “thrifty” but actually means “profligate” — I might try to pick up a new flat-screen TV at a Super Bowl sale. But unless I’m willing to settle for one of those ubiquitous “Big Game” sales, I’ll probably be forced to stick with what I’ve got.
Every year, while every sports yak in America is obsessing over Super Bowl scouting reports, every business in America is trying to capitalize on the game. But most of them aren’t using the words “Super Bowl” to do so, and the reason is fairly obvious: the phrase “Super Bowl” is trademarked by the NFL, which is famously protective of its intellectual property. Moreover, the privilege of using the phrase “Super Bowl” in advertising is one of the valuable rights bestowed by the NFL upon its advertisers and promotional partners — which gives the NFL extra incentive to keep freeloaders from poaching the phrase (thereby diminishing its value to potential paying promotional partners).
But what if the NFL is wrong? What if I really could check out the Super Bowl party at my favorite watering hole without them being subjected to the threat of legal doom?
Guess what, folks: I can.
So last week, I was on my 173rd consecutive hour of consuming blog articles, news stories, tweets, posts, video interviews, transcripts of interviews, analyses of transcripts of interviews, and opinions on the analyses of transcripts of interviews about Manti Te’o and his imaginary dead girlfriend, when I noticed that something else critical happened in the world of sports. OMG
Seattle sports fans recently rejoiced when the Maloof family announced that they have (finally) agreed to sell their stake in the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based investment group that (spoiler alert) intends to move the team back to the Emerald City. Considering how well the former Seattle SuperSonics are doing as the new OKC Thunder, coupled with the
My wife is very excited about tonight’s Laker game. Not because she is a Laker fan. Indeed, any actual Laker fan (like me) knows that now is a decidedly bad time to be a Laker fan. True, during the last off-season we acquired Superman a/k/a D12 a/k/a Dwight Howard, and two-time MVP Steve Nash season. True, we still have the …
An interesting footnote to last week’s post, revisiting our “5 Cases to Watch” for 2012.
Last week, I wrote that while talent manager Rick Siegel’s legal war with his former client — which had since morphed into a crusade against California’s Talent Agencies Act writ large — was over, the fight had been taken up by Siegel’s colleagues at
This time last year, Law Law Land joined the hackneyed proud tradition of legal blogs offering year-end lists of cases to watch in the coming year (though in our defense, we did try to mix it up by reviewing totally absurd cases as well as totally important cases). But “year in review” and “year to come” are cultural clichés…
The Quaker State can be proud of many things. The Liberty Bell. Andy Warhol. Tastykake. Trading Places. The Immaculate Reception. But one part of its history that Pennsylvania may wish to forget (besides dog killer Michael Vick) is the garrulous young woman chosen to represent the state in the Miss USA pageant — Sheena Monnin. Last month, a New York arbitrator found that Monnin defamed the Miss Universe organization when she claimed that the show had been rigged and ordered her to pay $5 million in damages. Everyone knows that beauty pageants are big business (and were even before Honey Boo Boo tragically became a household name). But how did they suddenly become the setting for big damages awards too?
“Fraudulent, Lacking in Morals, Inconsistent, and in Many Ways Trashy”
Monnin participated in the Miss USA competition and was not one of the semifinalists selected by the pageant judges. A different panel of celebrity judges then chose the five finalists, including the eventual Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island.
Moments after learning she had not been chosen as a semifinalist, Monnin sent an email to the director of the Miss Pennsylvania USA Pageant, Randy Sanders, claiming that the contest had been “f-ing rigged Randy.” (Wouldn’t be surprised if this phrase becomes part of the vernacular.) Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania the next day. As her reason, she stated that the pageant system had “removed itself from its foundational principles” by allowing transgendered contestants. That night, she publicly announced her resignation on Facebook, stating that she wanted no affiliation with an organization that was “fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy” — a sentiment that sounds like it could just as easily be a review of the clientele at many Hollywood nightclubs.
In a second Facebook post, she provided a new rationale for her resignation: the show had been rigged. As evidence, Monnin gave details of a conversation with another contestant who purportedly had found a list naming the top five finalists prior to the final judging.
Not surprisingly, these comments received much media attention. Monnin repeated her accusations on NBC’s Today Show, which is broadcast nationally.
Given that allegations of corruption in judging are nothing new and are rarely substantiated (the 2002 Winter Olympics figure skating scandal notwithstanding), the Miss Universe officials might have let this go after Monnin ignored the group’s offer to review the judging process with her. Forgiveness, however, was no longer on the agenda after the organization allegedly lost a potential $5 million sponsor who purportedly pulled out after expressing concern about the “rigging” allegations.
Free-to-play games are all the rage these days. Many people while away their days playing Angry Birds, or Words with Friends before going home to watch Monday Night Football. Nerds — and, increasingly, “normal people” — do the exact same thing, except instead of watching football, we play games like Super Monday Night Combat. This summer, the remarkable viability of the free-to-play business model gained extra attention when Forbes reported that the most-played PC game in the world is now a free-to-play game called League of Legends. For those of you struggling to understand the profitability part, just take a look at League of Legends character Teemo (pictured left). I mean, seriously, who can resist purchasing all the adorable “skins” for him?! (Clearly, not me.)
Nevertheless, the business world of free-to-play gaming is not without its dark, seedy underbelly, where even the cute and cuddly characters are forced to work in digital sweatshops and sell virtual drugs on simulated street corners just to make ends meet. Well, ok, maybe it’s not thatextreme. But as a recent (and bitter) dispute between game makers Zynga and Kixeye demonstrates, the gaming business can be just as ugly (and fascinating) as some of the game battles themselves.