A judge has dropped the hammer on Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit against Pitbull.
The troubled actress sued the hip hop star in 2011 over the song, “Give Me Everything,” which included the line, “So, I’m toptoein’, to keep flowin’, I got it locked up, like Lindsay Lohan.” Lohan claimed the lyric was a violation of her publicity and publicity rights and caused her emotional distress.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley dismiss the lawsuit on Thursday, ruling the song a protected work of art. Additionally, Lohan’s lawyer is sanctioned for plagiarism in the lawsuit. Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, released the song on March 18, 2011. Lohan sued in November, saying that the song “includes an unwarranted, unauthorized, and unfavorable mention of [her] name and personality, and allusions to [her] physical and mental character.”
Judge Hurley responds that the publicity/privacy rights claim, based on a provision of New York Civil Rights law, doesn’t apply to works of art, and that the First Amendment affords full protection. The judge also rejects Lohan’s argument that the song was commercial rather than expressive in nature.
“The fact that the Song was presumably created and distributed for the purpose of making a profit does not mean that plaintiff’s name was used for ‘advertising’ or ‘purposes of trade’ within the meaning of the New York Civil Rights Law,” writes the judge. The judge adds that even if the conclusion was the opposite, the “isolated nature of the use of her name” — just one line in the song — would “prove fatal” to her claims.
Lohan is at least lucky in one regard.
Putbull’s attorneys wanted to sanction the actress for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Judge Hurley doesn’t think that’s warranted because there hasn’t really ever been much case law addressing the legality of the the use of a name of a public figure in a song. Without such precedent, Lohan couldn’t be steered away from an ultimately doomed case. “The Court finds that plaintiff’s claims are not so frivolous as to warrant the imposition of sanctions,” says the judge.
Lohan’s lawyer Stephanie Ovadia isn’t as lucky. As The Hollywood Reporter first reported, the plaintiff’s court briefs were plagiarized from newspapers, law firms and other education websites.
Ovadia didn’t dispute the accusations of plagiarism, but her office attempted to pass off blame on an of counsel at the firm. Additionally, she attempted to convince the judge that an early draft had inadvertently been used and that an amended court brief had been attempted to have been substituted.
But Judge Hurley says that a comparison between the draft and the amended version didn’t “cure” the plagiarism and that Ovadia had made “undisputably false representation to the Court.” She is sanctioned in the amount of $750 for “an affront to the Court,” a small fine but one that also comes with the cost of her reputation, which the judge also notes.
Pitbull, Sony Music and other defendants were represented in the case by Audrey Pumariega and Marcos Daniel Jiménez at McDermott Will & Emery.