Trial Notes -- Joseph D. Schleimer:
Preston v. Ferrer, 552 U.S. 346, 128 S.Ct. 978 (2008) Mr. Schleimer argued this case before the United States Supreme Court on January 14, 2008 and the Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Mr. Schleimer's client, Arnold M. Preston, on February 20, 2008. The issue decided by the Court related to the enforceability of an arbitration clause in a personal manager's contract with television's "Judge Alex" Ferrer. When Ferrer refused to arbitrate the commission claim, and the California Courts declined to enforce the arbitration agreement, Mr. Schleimer appealed -- all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ordered Ferrer to arbitrate, and shortly thereafter, the case settled.
Articles: "Supreme Court Roughs Up TV Judge Over Arbitration," Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2008; "On Today's Docket: 'Judge Alex' Does the Supreme Court," Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2008; "Supreme Court Rules Against Judge Alex," New York Times, February 20, 2008; "High Court Rules Against TV's 'Judge Alex,'" CNN.com, February 20, 2008; "High Court Victory for Managers," The Hollywood Reporter, February 21, 2008; "Justices Skeptical of TV Judge's Claims," Washington Post, January 14, 2008; "Justices Not on Same Channel as 'Judge Alex,'" Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 15, 2008; "Supreme Court Spanks Lawyer for TV's 'Judge Alex,'" McClatchey Newspapers, January 14, 2008
Sigourney, Inc. v. Twentieth Century Fox , Case No. BC 007 010 (L.A. Superior Court, 1990) Mr. Schleimer was lead counsel (with Martin D. Singer) for Sigourney Weaver, James Cameron, Walter Hill, Gale Ann Hurd, Gordon Carroll, and David Giler, in this major profit-participation case. After Mr. Schleimer obtained a series of discovery orders requiring Fox to produce millions of financial documents (and imposing tens of thousands of dollars in sanctions), a massive audit was completed under Mr. Schleimer's supervision. Mr. Schleimer filed the results of the audit with the Superior Court--accusing Fox of hiding tens of millions of dollars in profits. Shortly thereafter, Fox entered into a confidential settlement with Mr. Schleimer's clients.
Articles: "'Aliens' Books Ordered Open: Fox Told to Provide Documents in Suit by Cameron, Weaver," The Hollywood Reporter, April 8, 1994; "Profit Participation Claims: Initiating Audits in the Film/Television Business," by Joseph D. Schleimer, Entertainment Law & Finance, October, 1996; "A Model Audit Clause for Use In Motion Picture Participation Agreements,"by Joseph D. Schleimer ("Sills & Adelmann Model Audit Clause" by Joseph D. Schleimer, Esq., Steven Sills, C.P.A., and William Adelmann, C.P.A.), UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium, 1996; "Strategies for Litigating Net-Profit Accounting Suits," by Stan Soocher and Joseph D. Schleimer, New York Law Journal, September 27, 1996
La Cienega Music Co. v. ZZ Top, 53 F.3d 950 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 927 (1995) Mr. Schleimer was lead defense counsel for ZZ Top, Warner Bros. Records, and the other defendants in this precedent-setting music copyright case. Mr. Schleimer moved to dismiss, and the U.S. District Court granted the motion. Mr. Schleimer defended the dismissal on appeal, and for the most part the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn the decision of the Ninth Circuit, Congress passed the "La Cienega Bill," amending the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. section. 303. The La Cienega amendment was signed into law by President Clinton in 1997.
Articles: "Concert Halls, Stadiums, Now Court is the Stage for ZZ Top," The National Law Journal, January 30, 1995; "U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review in La Cienega v. ZZ Top," Entertainment Litigation Reporter, November 30, 1995; "The 'La Cienega Fix': How New Legislation Affects Pre-1978 Recorded Songs," by Joseph D. Schleimer, Entertainment Law & Finance, February, 1998
ZZ Top v Chrysler Corp., 54 F.Supp.2d 985 (U.S. District Court, W.D.Wash. 1999) and 70 F.Supp.2d 1167 (U.S. District Court, W.D.Wash. 1999). Mr. Schleimer represented ZZ Top and their music publisher in this $15 million copyright and "personality" infringement case. In 1999, the U.S. District Court granted Mr. Schleimer's motion for summary judgment and held that Chrysler was liable as a matter of law. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler entered into a confidential settlement.
Articles: "ZZ Top Sues Chrysler for $15 Million," Austin American-Statesman, March 4, 1999; "ZZ Top Sues Chrysler," The Houston Chronicle, February 28, 1999; "ZZ Top v Chrysler, The Song Remains the Same," Law & Politics, December, 1999; "ZZ Top v. Chrysler Corp.: Overhead Deductible from Infringer's Profits," Intellectual Property Litigation Reporter, February 9, 2000
Jack Nicholson v. Vestron, Inc., Case No. C 624 764 (L.A. Superior Court, 1986). Mr. Schleimer was lead defense counsel (with Martin D. Singer) for Defendant Vestron, Inc., in this right-of-publicity case filed by actor Jack Nicholson. Vestron's insurance company unjustifiably denied coverage for Mr. Nicholson's claim, so Mr. Schleimer filed suit against the insurer for declaratory relief. A few hours after Mr. Schleimer obtained summary judgment against the insurance company (holding it liable for any judgment against Vestron), there was a confidential settlement with Mr. Nicholson.
People v. John Landis, Case No. A 391 583 (L.A. Superior Court, 1984). Mr. Schleimer was hired as an expert by the defense attorneys for director John Landis and the other defendants in this manslaughter case involving a fatal helicopter accident on the set of the motion picture The Twilight Zone. Mr. Schleimer, who has an MFA in Theater, Film & Television from UCLA, and has written technical articles about cinematography and special effects, designed the cross-examination of the prosecution's expert witnesses and drafted the court's admonition concerning optical distortion of the accident by the motion picture footage projected during the trial. Mr. Schleimer also coined the "Monday Morning Quarterback" theme which was presented by the defense lawyers in closing argument. All of the defendants were acquitted.
Warner Bros. v. Rodney Dangerfield, Case No. C 666 590 (L.A. Superior Court, 1987) Mr. Schleimer was lead counsel (with Jay Lavely) for Rodney Dangerfield in a breach of contract lawsuit concerning the motion picture"Caddyshack II." Shortly after Mr. Schleimer obtained a discovery order requiring Warner Bros. to turn over five years of star contract "side letters," Warner Bros. quietly settled the case.
The Spin Doctors v. Miller Brewing Co., Case No. 95 CV 6336 (U.S. District Court, C.D.Cal. 1995) Mr. Schleimer tried this $11.5 million copyright and "personality" infringement case in the U.S. District Court in 1997. After the jury returned a verdict finding Miller Brewing Company liable, the defendants entered into a confidential settlement.
Articles: "Spin Doctors Sue Over Commercial for Miller Lite Ice," Entertainment Litigation Reporter, October 30, 1995; "Spin Doctors' Lawyer Tangles With Miller Lite," Austin American-Statesman, May 18, 1997; "Spin Doctors, Miller Brewing Company Settle," The Hollywood Reporter, May 22, 1997
La Societe de la Musique v. Frank Wildhorn, Case No. SC 063489 (Santa Monica Superior Court, 2002) Mr. Schleimer defended famed composer Frank Wildhorn in this case involving ownership of the grand rights to the hit Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde. After a lengthy jury trial, the verdict was for Mr. Wildhorn on all issues.
Sherman Hemsley v. Kodiak Films, Inc., Case No. C 670 195 (L.A. Superior Court, 1987) Mr. Schleimer represented Sherman ("George Jefferson") Hemsley in this motion picture/profit participation case. In 1996, Mr. Schleimer took the fraud portion of the case in front of a Los Angeles jury, which awarded Mr. Hemsley $2.8 million. Articles: "Jury Awards Sherman Hemsley $2.8 Million in Movie Dispute," Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 5, 1996; "Sherman Hemsley Jury Award of $2.8 Million," The Hollywood Reporter, March 8, 1996; "'Jeffersons' Star Wins $2.8 Million Award," The Washington Post, March 7, 1996
Sylvester Stallone v. Franciso Mir, Case No. WEC 104 449 (Santa Monica Superior Court, 1986) Mr. Schleimer was lead counsel (with Martin D. Singer) representing Mr. Stallone in this case for fraud. After the defendant filed for bankruptcy, Mr. Schleimer filed a non-dischargeability action. Mr. Schleimer prevailed after a complicated hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which resulted in a monetary recovery for Mr. Stallone.
Sylvester Stallone v. Colgan Institute of Nutritional Science, Case No. C 665 526 (L.A. Superior Court, 1987) Mr. Schleimer was lead counsel (with Martin D. Singer) representing Mr. Stallone in this breach of contract and "personality" infringement case. Mr. Schleimer moved for dismissal of Dr. Colgan's cross-complaint and the motion was granted, at which point the defendants settled.
Thomas Haden Church v. Ross Brown, 16 Enter.L.Rptr. 5, No. TAC 52-92 (Cal.Lab.Comm. 1994) Mr. Schleimer represented actor Thomas Haden Church ("Wings" and "George of the Jungle") in this artist vs. manager case. After trial before the California Labor Commissioner, Mr. Schleimer obtained a precedent-setting order voiding the management contract under the Talent Agencies Act.
Bill Ham v. Clint Black, Case No. BC 050 406 (L.A. Superior Court, 1992); Case No. 93 CV 01110 (U.S. District Court, C.D.Cal., 1993); Case No. 92 CV 00240 (U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, 1992) Mr. Schleimer was lead counsel for music manager/publisher Bill Ham in this complex artist/manager lawsuit against country singer Clint Black, which was fought in the state and federal courts in Los Angeles and Nashville. After Mr. Schleimer obtained an injunction against Mr. Black in Federal Court, the singer confidentially settled the case.
Article: "New Album, New Image: Clint Black," The Houston Chronicle, July 5, 1992
Swany, Inc. v. Great American Entertainment Co., Case No. BC 039 257 (L.A. Superior Court, 1991) Mr. Schleimer represented producer Seymour Rosen and his loan-out company in this participation lawsuit against the distributor of a syndicated television series which Mr. Rosen had produced. After Mr. Schleimer conducted discovery and proved "back end" money was owed, the defendant quietly settled.
Article: "Swany, Inc. Files Contract Breach Suit," Entertainment Litigation Reporter, November 25, 1991