Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

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The First Amendment protects FX's portrayal of Olivia de Havilland in a docudrama without her permission. De Havilland filed suit against FX and the creators and producers of the television miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan, alleging causes of action for violation of the statutory right of publicity and the common law tort of misappropriation. De Havilland also alleged claims of false light invasion of privacy based on FX's portrayal in the docudrama of a fictitious interview and the de Havilland character's reference to her sister as a "bitch" when in fact the term she used was "dragon lady." The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's order denying FX's special motion to strike under California's anti-SLAPP statute. The court held that, assuming a docudrama was a "use" for purposes of the right of publicity, Feud was speech that was fully protected by the First Amendment, which safeguards the storytellers and artists who take the raw materials of life -- including the stories of real individuals, ordinary or extraordinary -- and transformed them into art, be it articles, books, movies, or plays. Furthermore, the fact that Feud's creators did not purchase or otherwise procure de Havilland's "right" to her name or likeness did not change the analysis. In this case, Feud's portrayal of de Havilland was transformative. The court also held that de Havilland failed to carry her burden of proving with admissible evidence that she will probably prevail on her false light claim, and thus de Havilland's cause of action for unjust enrichment also failed. View "De Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Amendment protects FX's portrayal of Olivia de Havilland in a docudrama without her permission. De Havilland filed suit against FX and the creators and producers of the television miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan, alleging causes of action for violation of the statutory right of publicity and the common law tort of misappropriation. De Havilland also alleged claims of false light invasion of privacy based on FX's portrayal in the docudrama of a fictitious interview and the de Havilland character's reference to her sister as a "bitch" when in fact the term she used was "dragon lady." The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's order denying FX's special motion to strike under California's anti-SLAPP statute. The court held that, assuming a docudrama was a "use" for purposes of the right of publicity, Feud was speech that was fully protected by the First Amendment, which safeguards the storytellers and artists who take the raw materials of life -- including the stories of real individuals, ordinary or extraordinary -- and transformed them into art, be it articles, books, movies, or plays. Furthermore, the fact that Feud's creators did not purchase or otherwise procure de Havilland's "right" to her name or likeness did not change the analysis. In this case, Feud's portrayal of de Havilland was transformative. The court also held that de Havilland failed to carry her burden of proving with admissible evidence that she will probably prevail on her false light claim, and thus de Havilland's cause of action for unjust enrichment also failed. View "De Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a dispute between the parties over licensing agreements involving the motion picture Gone in 60 Seconds. The trial court entered judgment for Classic and ordered that Eleanor Licensing retain possession of a vehicle identified as "Eleanor No. 1," which had been manufactured by Classic pursuant to a licensing agreement between the parties; quieting title to the vehicle in Eleanor Licensing; directing Classic to perform according to the terms of the licensing agreement and transfered legal title to Eleanor No. 1 to Eleanor Licensing; and awarding damages and attorney fees. The court held that the November 1, 2007 License Agreement was supported by adequate consideration; the contract-based claims, to the extent otherwise valid, were barred by the statute of limitations; the causes of action for return of personal property and quiet title were timely filed; the alter ego finding was not supported by substantial evidence; Jason Engel was properly named as a defendant in the causes of action to quiet title and for return of personal property; Tony Engel was a proper defendant in the quiet title cause of action; and the Engels were not liable for attorney fees. The court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment and postjudgment order. View "Eleanor Licensing LLC v. Classic Recreations LLC" on Justia Law

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San Francisco Baseball Associates (the Giants) unsuccessfully moved to compel arbitration of the wage and hour claims of Melendez, a security guard employed at AT&T Park. Melendez argued that he and other security guards were employed “intermittingly” for specific assignments and were discharged “at the end of a homestand, at the end of a baseball season, at the end of an inter-season event like a fan fest, college football game, a concert, a series of shows, or other events,” and, under Labor Code section 201, were entitled to but did not receive immediate payment of their final wages upon each “discharge.” The Giants argued that immediate payment was not required because, under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Giants and the union, Melendez and all such security guards are not intermittent employees but are “year-round employees who remain employed with the Giants until they resign or are terminated pursuant to the CBA.” The Giants argued that the action is preempted by section 301 of the federal Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185(a). The court of appeal affirmed, finding that the dispute is not within the scope of the CBA's arbitration provision but that arbitration is required by section 301. View "Melendez v. San Francisco Baseball Associates" on Justia Law