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Stormy Weather for Doo Wop Song (I)
Highest Court N.D. Indiana
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Lawyer(s)
Nonprofit Organization(s)
Other Stormy Weather
Short Description As the District Court stated in its first opinion in this set of cases, "This is one of those cases that gives lawyers a bad name." Keep in mind, the three opinions summarized here are only follow-ups to the TEN opinions that preceded them in "Stormy Weather for Doo Wop Song (I)." In the original lawsuit, Cheryl Janky, a member of the Northwest-Indiana Doo-Wop group, Stormy Weather, brought copyright infringement complaints against her fellow bandmates and Indiana's Visitors Bureau for using a song she'd written, entitled "The Wonders of Indiana," at a visitors center without her permission. Though Defendants in that case presented valid defenses, such as saying the song was work-for-hire or was a product of joint authorship, the jury ultimately found in Janky's favor for $100,000. The problem was, to get that amount, Janky and her lawyers did so many ridiculous things in court they'd racked up sanctions equalling around $20,000 and spent well more on attorneys' fees than the jury's verdict. Though some appeals were legitimately (though unsuccessfully) filed in that suit, Janky and her attorneys simultaneously brought THIS suit, which alleged various theories, including state constitional violations and the tort of "Abuse of Process," claiming Defendants' various defenses in the first suit were frivolous, despite the earlier judge already ruling they were not. The continuation of the lawsuit, the court found, was a paradigm of the "sunk-cost fallacy"; that, since so much money was already lost on the effort, losing a little more might be able to make it back. WRONG. In this case, not only were Janky's complaints dismissed, but more and more sanctions were filed against her and her lawyers for bringing a lawsuit blatantly contradicting earlier unsuccessfully appealed findings of fact in the same federal court. In addition to pointlessly prolonging litigation, Janky's complaints were absurd and tainted by "numerous typographical mistakes, run-on sentences, spelling errors, and pervasive inability to put down on paper a cogent, comprehensible English sentence." After all this, Plaintiff and her lawyers were collectively fined another $25,000 in sanctions. Then, to top it all off, the final decision was rendered in "Stormy Weather for Doo Wop Song (I)," and the $100,000 jury verdict was reversed by the Court of Appeals, which found the song was co-authored. Janky ended up with thousands of dollars in fines, and NONE in damages. Intense. - LSW

Legal Issues
Alternative Dispute Resolution Settlements Judicial Enforcement
Constitutional Law Fifth Amendment Takings Clause
  General Due Process
Copyrights Infringement Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination
    Unauthorized Licensing
  Ownership Joint Authorship, Works-for-Hire & Derivative Creations
Torts Negligence General


Opinions Janky v. Batistatos
259 F.R.D. 373
N.D. Indiana , July 31, 2009 ( No. 2:07-CV-339 PPS APR )


Janky v. Batistatos
559 F.Supp.2d 923
N.D. Indiana , April 24, 2008 ( No. 2:07-CV-339 PPS APR )


Janky v. Batistatos
2008 WL 4411504
N.D. Indiana , September 25, 2008 ( No. 2:07-CV-339 PPS APR )


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Related Searches Parties
Individual(s) ( Defendant )
Lawyer(s) ( Defendant )
Nonprofit Organization(s) ( Defendant )
Songwriter(s) ( Plaintiff )
Stormy Weather ( Other )

Legal Issues
Alternative Dispute Resolution / Settlements / Judicial Enforcement
Constitutional Law / Fifth Amendment / Takings Clause
Constitutional Law / General / Due Process
Copyrights / Infringement / Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination
Copyrights / Infringement / Unauthorized Licensing
Copyrights / Ownership / Joint Authorship, Works-for-Hire & Derivative Creations
Torts / Negligence / General

Courts
N.D. Indiana (highest court)


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