Waller Attorneys Obtain First Amendment Victory
Nashville, Tenn. – Waller partners Robb S. Harvey and Heather J. Hubbard and Los Angeles attorney Bert Fields helped win summary judgment for the defendants in Moore v. Weinstein Company, LLC et al.
The summary judgment relates to a lawsuit filed in 2009 by soul singer Sam Moore against The Weinstein Company, LLC, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., Genius Products, LLC, and Concord Music Group, Inc. The suit alleged that Soul Men, a 2008 movie starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac, and the accompanying soundtrack, bore too much resemblance to Sam and Dave, a soul music group in which Moore performed in the 1960s and 1970s.
“We are pleased with the federal court’s decision to dismiss this case,” said Andrew Kramer, President of Business and Legal Affairs & General Counsel for The Weinstein Company. “We have known since the plaintiffs first raised their claims that they were meritless and the court’s ruling is a satisfying vindication.”
Judge Aleta A. Trauger of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee dismissed the case and issued a detailed 98-page ruling on May 23, 2012, finding that the plaintiffs did not have trademark or right of publicity claims. The Court also agreed with the defendants that the movie was a fictional comedy and not about Sam Moore.
“This summary judgment is an extraordinary win for the First Amendment,” said Harvey, who was lead counsel on the case. “We appreciate the judge’s lengthy decision, and recognize the immense time and energy the court put into this case.”
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