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1. Aaliyah's Label Sues for Negligence
Highest Court New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Blackground Records
Defendants Music Video Producer(s)
Other Aaliyah
Short Description Aaliyah's business agent brought a wrongful death action against a music video production company, alleging lost profits for Defendant record company's negligent arrangement of travel in relation to Aaliyah's death in an airplane crash. The court held that since the record company had already settled with Aaliyah's family in California, allowing associated entities to recover would be unjust. Since New York's statute does not allow double recovery, Plaintiff tried to sue in common law tort, but the court found no such common law tort exists; it was superseded by legislation. - LSW & SKR


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2. Source Mag's Fallen Heroes
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs Magazine Publisher(s)
Source Magazine
Defendants Bootlegger(s)/Counterfeiter(s)
Clothing Distributor(s)
Music Retailer(s)
Other Aaliyah
Lopez, Lisa "Left Eye"
Shakur, Tupac
Short Description Source Magazine, which covers hip-hop, had authorized a series of leather jackets with magazine covers showing dead rappers, like Tupac and Lisa Lopes. They learned that the jackets were being counterfeited, and the Defendant's were sued. The Defendants were enjoined and then began to be uncooperative regarding discovery. The Defendants finally produced the documents during the actual trial. The Plaintiffs could not show damages, but the Court dismissed the claims after the Defendants agreed to a permanent injunction. The Plaintiffs tried to obtain attorney's fees under the Lanham Act, but the Court preferred to use discovery sanctions because the Lanham Act only authorizes feels for willful violations, which were not shown in this case. The Court then decided to sanction the Defendant's lawyer because he apparently was a cause of the discovery problems. - JMC


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