While some celebrities have no reservations about airing their feuds on social media and making it readily available to the public, many of these feuds are contributing factors to a large number of courtroom proceedings. It seems like throughout the years, there have been more and more civil lawsuits involving celebrities than ever before. Whether it’s over copyright infringement, unpaid fees, or defamation of character, celebrities apparently wind up in more legal battles than the average person.
The average individual files claims when another party owes them money or in some way violated their rights, and celebrities are no exception. Like the average Joe, there are celebrities who initiate the lawsuits when they feel they have been wronged, scammed, or ripped off by another party, while other celebrities are on the other side of the fence defending themselves against allegations. Either way, these celebs have sought to protect their names, finances, and/or the companies who represent them. In these courtroom cases, celebs either walk out the courtrooms feeling vindicated with a smile that says ‘I won’, or they walk out being forced to shell out millions of dollars which is a big hit to their wallets. Here are 12 lawsuits involving famous people you didn’t know about.
12. Kendall Jenner vs. Cutera Skin Care Line
Cutera started using Kendall Jenner’s photo in their advertisements for acne laser treatment that started showing up throughout New York. The lawsuit says, “Cutera’s use of Kendall Jenner’s name and likeness is not, and never has been authorized. Cutera never sought Ms. Jenner’s permission to use her as a ‘face’ for its products and services, and Ms. Jenner has never given such permission.” In one of the company’s ads, it mentioned Jenner stating “acne had completely ruined her self-esteem and that her now nearly flawless skin was the product of visits to a dermatologist for Laser Genesis Treatment.” Jenner claims Cutera committed false endorsement, trademark infringement and violated her right of publicity. Jenner is requesting that Cutera pays her profits from using her photos and the amount is $10 million.
11. Sean Penn vs. Lee Daniels
Lee Daniels, the creator of FOX’s hit TV series Empire, has been sued by Sean Penn for defamation. Penn is taking this pretty seriously and he has demanded $10 million. Why is Penn so bent out of shape? He claims that Daniels falsely portrayed him as being a woman beater when he was compared to one of the stars Terrance Howard, who was arrested for hitting his then-wife in 2001. Daniels made a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying, “Terrence ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f**kin demon.” Penn’s attorneys stated that Penn was “the subject of scandalous, scurrilous and baseless attacks. He will no longer tolerate the reckless and malicious behavior of others.” Daniels and his team of attorneys are hopeful that the case will be thrown out of court and are adamant that Daniels’ comments were not indicating that Penn was the type of guy who hits women.
10. Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker
In 2012, wrestling icon Hulk Hogan filed a lawsuit against Gawker Media for invading his privacy. Gawker allegedly published a video of Hogan engaging in a rendezvous with Heather Cole. As court proceedings went underway in the recent months, Hogan’s lawyer said to jurors, “You send a message. You make a statement. And the statement is, ‘We’re going to draw a line. Literally, everything was done with complete reckless disregard and intent to harm this man.” Gawker Media founder, Nick Denton, was reported to be worth over $120 million while the website earned gross revenues of $48.7 million last year. Denton was ordered to pay Hogan $10 million for punitive damages and Gawker was ordered to pay $15 million. The former editor, A.J. Daulerio was also on the hook for $100,000.
9. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams vs. Gaye family
The “Blurred Lines” single was the subject of legal disputes after Marvin Gaye’s family filed a lawsuit claiming similarities to Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” The Gaye estate said that Robin Thicke copied three songs on his Love After War album from Marvin Gaye including “Got to Give It Up”, “I Want You”, and “After the Dance”. However, Thicke stated that he was barely involved in the production of “Blurred Lines” and he was intoxicated and on Vicodin during his recording. The trial was held in February 2015 where Pharrell Williams testified that he never intended on copying Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” nor was it in his thought process when writing. Even though Thicke and Williams were adamant that they did not copy Gaye’s song, they were ordered to pay the Gaye family $7.3 million. In December 2015, Thick, Williams and T.I. filed an appeal in this case.
8. Iggy Azalea vs. Jefe Wine
In 2014, rapper Iggy Azalea filed a lawsuit against Jefe Wine (aka Maurice Williams) for publicizing her unreleased music and an alleged sex tape. As Azalea became more famous for her single “Fancy”, other songs began to emerge on sites such as Spotify, Pandora and the Google Play Store. At some time afterward, Universal Music sent out cease-and-desist notifications to retailers. In a press release, joint ventured companies ESMG Primco, and Top Sail Enterprises Inc. stated that they “secured the rights” to release Azalea’s Inizio EP. However, according to Azalea, Williams stole items from her computer and then threatened to release unfinished masters. In a statement, she said, “I want the public to know that my work is authentic and as I intended it to be. I do not want the public to be confused by defendants’ efforts to pass off the inferior pastiches of scoundrel as my work.”
7. 50 Cent vs. Rick Ross
Rick Ross and 50 Cent’s beef with each other has been public throughout the years. In December, 50 Cent filed a lawsuit against Rick Ross for using his “In Da Club” beat after hearing Ross’ remix on #RenzelRemixes mixtape. 50 Cent’s partner said “Our complaint alleges that Rick Ross has taken these without permission to advertise his own album, and violated 50 Cent’s rights in the process.” A partner at Robins Kaplan LLP, Craig Weiner, said “We will use every tool available to remedy what we allege is an unauthorized use of 50 Cent’s name, identity, and trademark.” Ross posted his response to 50 Cent’s lawsuit on Twitter. He said, “Enjoy every minute of it…They file lawsuits to settle for conversation.” This is not the first time their ongoing feud as landed in court. In 2010, 50 Cent was ordered to dish out $7 million for publishing a sex tape with Ross’s kid’s mother.
6. Roc Nation vs. Rita Ora
Earlier this year, Roc Nation filed a lawsuit against Rita Ora for $2.4 million claiming that she broke her recording contract and did not deliver on the amount of albums she promised. The label allegedly spent $2 million to market and develop her second album which is yet to be released. In regard to the contract, the pop singer signed with Roc Nation in 2008, Ora agreed to deliver five albums, but only released one. The lawsuit came after Ora filed her own lawsuit against Roc Nation claiming that the label abandoned her to focus their attention on other pursuits. The case is still pending.
5. Show writers vs. Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, HBO
Ballers is a hit comedy series aired on HBO that delves into the lives of current and former athletes. That baller status may take a financial hit if they lose a lawsuit filed against them by show writers Sheri Littleton and Everette Silas. The show writers are adamant that Ballers lifts a number of elements from Off Season such as the character’s physical appearances, scenes and storylines, among many others. How did this happen? The writers claim that in 2007, copies of the Off Season screenplay landed in the hands of the executives of IMG Productions, Steve Mayer and Chris Albrecht. In response to the lawsuit, HBO said, “We are confident the case has no merit.” The plaintiffs are seeking $200 million in damages.
4. Jennifer Lopez sued for Morocco concert
At the Mawazine World Rhythms International Music Festival, Jennifer Lopez put on a performance wearing fishnet tights, stiletto boots, and a bodysuit. While she did well, an education group was not too pleased. The group filed a lawsuit claiming that she “disturbed public order and tarnished women’s honor and respect.” It doesn’t stop there. The Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirance, also got involved and pursued an investigation on the broadcast which he believed was “sexually suggestive and serious delinquency.” As for the network who aired her performance, they were criticized for allowing the show despite the portrayal of something “indecent and provocative to the religious and moral values of Moroccan society.” Lopez could potentially face an unpleasant new home in jail for up to two years if convicted.
3. Ashley Greene sued for starting fire that killed her dog
In 2013, Ashley Greene was faced with a lawsuit from her neighbors and doorman of her apartment complex. She allegedly was responsible for starting a fire that killed her dog and obliterated her apartment unit. The doorman claimed that he was subjected to injuries such as smoke inhalation, dehydration and exhaustion. The other neighbors who sued stated that soot and water damage were caused by the fire. A lawyer for the neighbors said, “My clients have been through hell.” They apparently suffered physical injuries including smoke inhalation and exhaustion along with emotional distress. Greene reportedly settled with the doorman in an amount that was not revealed.
2. Justin Bieber and Usher vs. Virginia songwriters
Remember the single “Somebody to Love?” Well, singer Devin Copeland and songwriter Mareio Overton have made claims that the beat and lyrics are similar to a song that was written back in 2008. Initially, the lawsuit was dismissed, but the plaintiffs took the case to appeals court who found a number of similarities. The pair claims that their original song was played to Usher by music scouts and then turned over to Bieber. Circuit Judge Pamela Harris stated, “After listening to the Copeland song and the Bieber and Usher songs as wholes, we conclude that their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar.”
1. Damon Dash vs. Lee Daniels
Damon Dash, who is the co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, filed a lawsuit against Lee Daniels. It started when Dash and Daniels entered into an agreement that would give Dash 50 percent of film rights on The Woodsman, executive producer credits, and assurance that that the $2 million he invested would be paid back. Dash worked tirelessly to promote the film and even included Kanye West to perform at different venues across the country to ensure the film’s commercials were played. However, when Dash approached Daniels for repayment, he was met with another offer to re-invest in another project Shadowboxer. Even though Dash went ahead and reinvested the $2 million, the film was not a success and he was even told to take a step back from promoting. In response to these claims, Daniels’ lawyers said, “Regrettably, it’s easy to make allegations. Proving the allegations is a different story, and the premise reason why the judicial system exists. Mr. Daniels looks forward to the Court’s scrutiny of the merits of Mr. Dash’s misguided claims.”