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Shriners vs. Dead Kennedys
Highest Court Sixth Circuit
Year Ended 1989
Plaintiffs Shriner Organization
Defendants Dead Kennedys
Music Retailer(s)
Newsweek Magazine
Other Alternative Tentacles Records
Short Description Certainly among the most infamous cases in punk rock legal history, the Shriner Organization (most commonly known to the general public for driving around in little cars wearing funny little hats), sued the Dead Kennedys, Newsweek, and various music retailers when the Kennedys purchased from Newsweek the rights to a photograph of the Shriners, which was then used by the Kennedys for the cover of their album "Frankenchrist." Other artwork on the album included an H.R. Giger landscape called "Penis Landscape." The Shriners sued all the aforementioned parties, alleging various privacy violations, such as false light and commercial misappropriation of likeness. Newsweek sought to remove the complaint to federal court for diversity of citizenship (though the retailers were in the same jurisdiction as Plaintiffs), alleging the music retailers were "nominal" defendants against whom no valid state causes of action existed. The court agreed, initially, with Newsweek. But the Circuit Court disagreed, finding that Plaintiffs' complaint against all parties alleged a single train of events (actions against Newsweek were not "separate and independent" from the other Defendants), and thus complete diversity was lacking. Because diversity lacked, the federal court had no jurisdiction and the suit was be remanded to the state court, despite the costs involved to all parties. Unfortunate, says the court, but unavoidable. - LSW

Legal Issues
Conflicts of Law Jurisdiction & Forum Subject Matter Jurisdiction
    Supplemental Jurisdiction
Torts Privacy Torts Commercial Misappropriation of Name/Likeness
    False Light


Opinions Morris v. Boucher
875 F.2d 866 / 1989 WL 54110
Sixth Circuit , May 23, 1989 ( No. 88-1258 )


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Related Searches Parties
Alternative Tentacles Records ( Other )
Dead Kennedys ( Defendant )
Music Retailer(s) ( Defendant )
Newsweek Magazine ( Defendant )
Shriner Organization ( Plaintiff )

Legal Issues
Conflicts of Law / Jurisdiction & Forum / Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Conflicts of Law / Jurisdiction & Forum / Supplemental Jurisdiction
Torts / Privacy Torts / Commercial Misappropriation of Name/Likeness
Torts / Privacy Torts / False Light

Courts
Sixth Circuit (highest court)


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