The Quick 10: 10 Odd Celebrity Lawsuits
Have you heard about this ridiculous Lindsay Lohan lawsuit? In case you haven't, it's below at number one. It's a bit silly, at least in my non-lawyerly opinion. But there's a long line of litigious luminaries who paved the way for Lindsay, so who knows? Maybe her case has a shot. Here are a few of them.
1. Lindsay Lohan vs. E-Trade. If you watched the Super Bowl and all of its commercials, you probably remember the E-Trade babies. One baby accuses her "boyfriend" of having that "milk-a-holic, Lindsay," over. Lohan decided E-Trade was using her name without her permission, claiming she has the same kind of single-name recognition as Madonna or Cher, and that saying the baby was a "milk-a-holic" was making light of her personal issues with alcohol and drugs. Everything is still pending, but my guess is that she's going to lose this one. I saw the commercial and I never made the connection between the infant and the actress with infantile behavior. Did you? Here's the commercial in question.
2. Dustin Hoffman vs. Los Angeles magazine. Back in 1999, Hoffman didn't really appreciate the fact that the magazine Photoshopped a picture of him in a spangled dress from Tootsie - a movie in which he dresses as a woman "“ and put him in a different gown and heels. He demanded $5 million and ended up winning $3 million.
3. Vanna White vs. Samsung Electronics. Samsung ran an ad in the late '80s depicting a blonde robot in an evening dress turning letters on a game show. Apparently it hit a little too close to home for Ms. White - she sued and won, but the judge's ruling for Vanna has been highly criticized ever since.
4. 50 Cent vs. Taco Bell. Don't expect Curtis Jackson to make a run for the border anytime soon. In 2008, 50 sued Taco Bell because of an ad campaign in which the company jokingly beseeched the rapper to change his name to "99 Cent" to promote their 99-cent menu. Fiddy wasn't amused, especially after his fans started mocking him for selling out to Taco Bell, and sued them for using his name without his permission. Taco Bell countersued for $4 million. They ended up settling out of court last year.
5. Ron Livingston vs. Anonymous Wikipedia User. Just a few months ago, Ron Livingston was apparently perusing Wikipedia when he happened to notice that the entry under his name called him "A Gay." Since Wikipedia is powered by anonymous users who can edit at will, it's pretty hard to actually sue anyone. The lawsuit names "John Doe." But it must be scaring someone away, because there is currently no mention of him being "A Gay" on Wikipedia right now.
6. Willem Van Muyden vs. Elizabeth Taylor. Van Muyden was Taylor's gardener until she let him go because he refused to have sex with her butler/lover. At least, that's what Van Muyden claimed. The gardener said the butler was having a hard time "getting sexually aroused in order to service Taylor's sexual needs," and wanted a little help in that department from Van Muyden. Van Muyden said no and was subsequently fired. But the lawsuit was settled and, according to Taylor's lawyer, no one was paid anything. He said Van Muyden was fired, yes, but it was for employing illegal immigrants and threatening members of the household.
7. Johnny Carson vs. Here's Johnny Portable Toilets. Yeah, I wouldn't have been too happy about this one if I were Carson. In 1976, a company began selling "Here's Johnny" porta-potties. The proprietor of the company might have been able to plead ignorance if he hadn't added the tagline, "The World's Foremost Commodian," but he really tipped his hand with that one. Shockingly, Carson lost. The court decided that since Carson's image wasn't used, he wasn't defamed and there was no invasion of privacy. His legal team appealed and won the second time around.
8. Allen Heckard vs. Michael Jordan and Phil Knight. Allen, apparently a dead ringer for the basketball legend (he's pictured at the left, what do you think?), was tired of constantly being asked to sign autographs and pose for pictures. So, he sued Jordan, because obviously it's his fault they look alike. He also sued Nike founder Phil Knight for promoting Jordan and making him a household name and face. The amount he wants? $832 MILLION DOLLARS. Really. When asked how he arrived at that particular sum, Heckard said, "Well, you figure with my age and you multiply that times seven and ah, then I turn around and ah I figure that's what it all boils down to." The case is still pending, but there's no way he can win this one"¦ is there??
9. Unnamed Chef vs. Simon Cowell. Well, you can safely say this lady wasn't trying to extort money from Cowell "“ all she wanted from this lawsuit was the return of her sneakers, which were fitted with $500 orthopedic insoles. She was interviewing for a chef position in the Cowell household and removed her shoes at the door as so not to track dirt all over the house. She was given a clean pair to wear while she was there for the interview. The chef failed to get her shoes back after the interview "“ she says she was given someone else's shoes instead. She sued for the cost of the shoes, plus her court costs, plus the $9 in gas it cost her to make the trip to Simon's house.
10. Mariah Carey vs. Mary Carey. I wouldn't think most people would be confused between Mariah and Mary, but I'm apparently wrong. In 2006, singer Mariah Carey sued porn star Mary Carey for having a stage name that was just a bit too similar for her liking. Mariah claimed that Mary's choice of profession was hurting her own image. A judge agreed, and as of January 2007, Mary Carey can no longer legally go by such.
Do any other famous lawsuits come to mind? And what do you think about the whole Lindsay lawsuit "“ does she have a case, or is this just another way to get her name in the press?