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Week in Review

By Martha Nimmer

A Killer of a Case

American Psycho, the 1991 novel about a Manhattan investment banker turned serial killer, is an unlikely plot for a musical, but a fact pattern more suited for a courtroom. This case, however, does not take place in criminal court, but instead, on the civil side.

Claiming tortious interference and breach of contract, Nate Bolotin has sued The Johnson-Roessler Company and ACT 4 Entertainment -- the producers of the musical stage version "American Psycho" -- in New York court. Bolotin claims that he "came up with the idea" for an "American Psycho" musical over five years ago while working for Collective Management Group (Collective), which is not a party to the suit. The plaintiff claims that he tried "to bring the project to the stage," but ended up signing a separation agreement with Collective and leaving the company in June 2008. Bolotin further alleges that under the terms of his contract with Collective, he agreed to create the musical "in exchange for paying the management company a 25 percent cut of any money he received from the project," with Collective agreeing to pay him a 75 percent share of the musical's revenue. Collective, Bolotin states, eventually partnered with the defendant producers in late 2008 to develop an "American Psycho" musical, "'fully aware' of the separation agreement and his right to 37.5 percent of income from the musical as a 'third-party beneficiary' of the original partnership." According to the complaint, in August 2012, the defendants claimed that Bolotin had violated the separation agreement, and moved to "shut him out of the project."

Bolotin seeks damages for breach of contract and tortious interference with contractual relations, lost earnings and costs.



Detroit hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse (ICP) and four fans have sued the Department of Justice (DOJ)and FBI in Detroit federal court to challenge what the band calls an "unwarranted and unlawful decision to designate [Insane Clown Posse] supporters as a criminal gang." "Organized crime is by no means part of the Juggalo culture," the complaint reads, calling the gang designation "unlawful" and "unconstitutionally vague." ICP fans, who call themselves "Juggalos," also alleged that as a result of the FBI's designation, "state and local police routinely stop, detain, interrogate, photograph and document Juggalos, with some fans even being denied consideration for employment."

The DOJ officially identified Juggalos as a "loosely organized hybrid gang" in 2011 when the Department included the fan group in the National Gang Threat Assessment. Juggalos are recognizable "by the way they paint their faces to look like clowns" and for using the band's "hatchetman" logo on clothes, skin or bumper stickers. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the federal government estimates that there are more than one million Juggalos in the United States.

The ICP and its fans seek an injunction, declaratory judgment and damages for violations of the First Amendment, due process under the Fifth Amendment, arbitrary and capricious agency action, and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Read the complaint here: http://www.aclumich.org/sites/default/files/Complaint%20-%20Parsons%20v%20DOJ%20-%20FINAL.pdf



Viking Victory

The Minnesota State Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to hear a challenge brought by three Minneapolis residents to the planned sale of $468 million in bonds to help pay for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, according to an unsigned ruling. The statute under which the residents sued "does not confer original jurisdiction on the court to resolve all challenges to legislation authorizing the use of appropriation bonds," wrote six members of the court. The court's seventh member, former Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page, did not participate in the case. The justices did note, however, that the residents could "file a lower-court case raising a constitutional challenge to a matter involving taxation," but did not hint at whether such a claim would be successful. Doug Mann, lead petitioner in the case and a one-time Minneapolis mayoral candidate, said in an emailed statement that he would consider his "appeal options" against the city.

The residents' lawsuit, filed on January 10th, claimed that the financing plan for the new football stadium "unconstitutionally relied upon city sales taxes to pay the bond debt." According to Bloomberg News, Minneapolis is required "to pay debt service on its share of a principal amount of $150 million plus interest, while the state's liability is limited to payment on as much as $348 million of bonds plus interest, according to the residents' petition."

After the suit was filed, Minnesota was forced to postpone a sale scheduled for January 13th. No new date has been set yet for the bond sale, however. Construction on the new $975 million stadium began last month, after years of posturing and pleading by the Vikings to secure a new home for their team. In 2010, the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome collapsed under the weight of snow.


Kanye, Not Coinye

Kanye West has likely dreamed about having his name or face on a coin, but it is unlikely that the coin was part of a new cryptocurrency called Coinye West. Similar to Bitcoin, Coinye West is billed as a "PROPER and FAIR ... [currency] for the masses." The coders behind the new currency, who operate through the Coinyeco.in website, released their first "coins" on January 7th, saying, "we want to release this to the public before the man can try to crush it." The coins were originally set to debut on January 11th, but after receiving a cease and desist letter from West's attorneys, the coders moved the release date forward, tweeting in the style of Kanye West "WHO GON STOP ME HUH." "Coinye feelin' the heat, gonna spread what we got so far before the bigwigs steal our work!!"

In a cease and desist letter dated January 6th, an attorney for the hip-hop artist accused the coders of attempting to trade on the celebrity of West: "[G]iven Mr. West's wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of your services." The letter continues to accuse the Coinye creators of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and cyberpiracy, but notes that West "seeks to resolve this matter without resort to litigation." To avoid a lawsuit, Coinye's developers must cease "development, sale, distribution and promotion" of all Coinye West products and services, deactivating their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and transferring the coinyewest.com website into West's hands, West's attorney wrote. Failure to comply will not just result in legal action against Coinye's creators, however -- the rapper's attorneys will also "notify the cryptocurrency community at large of [Coinye's] infringing actions" and pursue legal action against any business that accepts the currency.

Despite this looming juggernaut of legal action, Coinye's creators do not seem to be backing down. In a Skype interview with the Wall Street Journal, one of the coders said, "[t]hey'll still come after us, but that's OK." The creators did, however, change the name of their currency from Coinye West to Coinye, and have also changed their website from a .com URL to a domain name registered in India, http://www.coinyeco.in/.




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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 24, 2014 8:18 AM.

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