« Week in Review | Main | Three Contracts Every Music Producer Should Know... »

Week in Review

By Chris Helsel

Association of NYC Hospitals and City Council Members Seek Greater Privacy for Patients

The Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents nearly all major New York City hospitals, announced this week that it has asked its members to prohibit the filming of patients without their consent. The request was prompted by the anger over the story of Upper East Side widow Anita Chanko, who was shocked to realize the patient moaning in agony on the television during a 2012 episode of "NY Med" was her late husband, who had died 16 months earlier after being struck by a sanitation truck.

"NY Med" is a reality television show set at New York Presbyterian Hospital. The show gives viewers a first-hand look inside the stressful environment of a prestigious hospital's busy emergency room. What many viewers likely do not realize, however, is that the patients featured do not give their consent to be filmed, nor are their families informed that their loved ones will be appearing.

After Ms. Chanko's story went public in January, 33 members of the New York City Council sent a letter to leaders of city hospitals seeking their pledge not to film patients or families without their knowledge and consent. This week, the hospital association followed suit, asking its members institutions to do the same. In addition, numerous bills are pending before the New York State Legislature that would prohibit the broadcast of medical treatment without consent.

Critics of medical reality television are concerned that despite the obvious privacy concerns the filming (and broadcasting) of trauma patients raises, the is gaining popularity. For instance, a new network television series called "Save My Life: Boston Trauma," featuring scenes from Massachusetts General Hospital, made its debut recently. The show's website boasts that "viewers will get unparalleled access to top tier trauma teams inside the emergency rooms and operating rooms of the nation's most prestigious hospitals."

ABC Network, which broadcasts both "NY Med" and "Save My Life: Boston Trauma," defended the shows in a statement, saying, "We have heard many stories of people who were inspired to go to medical school, to become nurses or paramedics, or to head into particular specialties like trauma or transplant surgery, after watching our show."


Honolulu Museum Sues Benefactor for Selling Undocumented Art

A Hawaiian art museum has filed a lawsuit against one of its benefactors, the San Francisco-based collector Joel Alexander Greene, for allegedly failing to provide proper documentation for a collection of Southeast Asian art he sold the museum in 2004. The suit seeks to recoup $890,000 in payments made by the museum.

The original transaction between the 80-year-old collector and the Honolulu Museum of Art was a charitable annuity agreement under which the museum would pay a $80,000 quarterly annuity for the remainder of Mr. Greene's lifetime in exchange for five pieces. In addition, Mr. Greene loaned another 37 pieces that would become gifts upon his death.

According to the complaint, the museum has faithfully made all of its payments to date. However, it says, Mr. Greene has never provided proper documentation for the objects, which officials believe may have been stolen from their countries of origin. The museum contends that the 2004 agreement was "grounded" on the belief that Mr. Greene would provide the necessary documentation - though it did not offer an explanation of why it took this long to realize that he had not.

The issue came to light in 2011 following the arrest of New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor. Mr. Kapoor's arrest spurred a further investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which ultimately resulted in the removal of seven pieces related to Mr. Kapoor from the Honolulu museum. The loss of those pieces prompted the museum to take a closer look at the rest of its inventory, including those provided by Mr. Greene.

Mr. Greene insists he has done nothing wrong, and that he provided all required documentation at the time of the transaction, a decade ago. He claims that he no longer has any of the documents. He characterized the lawsuit as an attempt by the museum to "get out of paying" the lifetime annuity.


Disappointing Iowa Music Festival Spawns Lawsuits

The Grassroots Music Festival, which took place in Council Bluffs, Iowa earlier this month, was a disappointment on many fronts. Fans complained on social media about long lines, expensive-but-underwhelming "VIP" sections, and no-show artists; food vendors allege that their contracts were not honored; and the festival's main investor is suing the group that staged the event for breach of contract, nonpayment of a loan and fraud.

After last year's successful one-day event, business partners Jason Dick and Darik Opperman sought to expand their Grassroots Festival into a three-day affair. To do so, they paired their company, The Dom Group, with investor Eric Marsh, who contributed over $400,000.

With the date and location for this year's festival secured, Mr. Dick and Mr. Opperman began entering into contracts with food vendors. Then, in April, The Dom Group sold exclusive rights to sell food, alcohol and other beverages to Mr. Marsh, the investor. Curiously, the pair did not inform the other vendors of this deal, and even continued entering into contracts with additional outside vendors into June.

It wasn't until just days before the festival that vendors learned they would not be appearing at Grassroots. Predictably, in anticipation of the weekend many of these vendors had ordered extra products, paid for permits, rented equipment, hired extra workers, and turned down other offers for catering business.

The Dom Group alleges that Mr. Marsh improperly leveraged his powerful position as sole investor to force the organizers into selling him the food and beverage rights, under threat of withdrawing his investment. They have begun the process of repaying vendors their deposits, but many vendors have indicated they intend to seek further damages.

"If they think they're gong to walk away with my cash, they're sorely mistaken," said Kelly Keegan, owner of Chicago Dawg House.

After signing the exclusive food and beverage rights contract, Mr. Marsh learned that the group was continuing to enter agreements with outside vendors. He brought a lawsuit against The Dom Group last month in order to ensure that would be the festival's exclusive vendor. The Dom Group then broke its contracts with previously signed vendors, ensuring that Mr. Marsh would enjoy the exclusive rights.

Now that the festival has concluded, Mr. Marsh is continuing his lawsuit against his business partners. He seeks repayment of $422,000 that he invested, and alleges breach of contract, nonpayment of a loan and fraud. While he originally intended to acquire an ownership stake in the festival, now the investor says he "just wants [his] money back."

The Dom Group contends that it never intended to cede ownership of the festival itself, but Mr. Marsh improperly pressured the partners into signing over a controlling interest in the company by cutting off all funding during the festival's planning stages, forcing them to sell or go bankrupt. The company, which is the defendant in Mr. Marsh's suit, plans to file a counterclaim.

Mr. Marsh denies any wrongdoing and contends that his intention to acquire an ownership stake was never a secret. "I always felt the need to have something in exchange for (money) I put out there," he said.


Designer of Katy Perry Met Gala Dress Sued by Brooklyn Graffiti Artist

Brooklyn graffiti artist Joseph Tierney has filed a lawsuit in California federal court accusing fashion designer Jeremy Scott and his fashion house, Moschino, of misappropriating the artist's design in creating a loud, colorful dress for pop star Katy Perry. Mr. Tierney, known professionally as Rime, called the dress a "literal misappropriation" of one of the artist's murals in Detroit.

According to the suit, the offending dress not only contains the same visual style as Mr. Tierney's work, but also the artist's name and signature. Further, "if this literal misappropriation were not bad enough, Moschino and Jeremy Scott did their own painting over that of the Artist - superimposing the Moschino and Jeremy Scott brand names in spray-paint style as if part of the original work," states the complaint. "Not only was his art exploited by Defendants, but his credibility as a graffiti artist was compromised by inclusion in such a crass and commercial publicity stunt ... Nothing is more antithetical to the outsider 'street cred' that is essential to graffiti artists than association with European chic, luxury and glamour -- of which Moschino is the epitome."

The suit further alleges that "not only did Ms. Perry and Defendant Scott advertise, wear, and display the clothing at the event, they arrived at the event in a spray painted Rolls Royce, and even carried around Moschino-branded cans of fake spray paint during the event, as if Defendants were responsible for the artwork."

Despite landing Ms. Perry on several "worst dressed" lists, the elaborate Met Gala appearance (she also arrived in a spray-painted Rolls Royce) was a massive PR and financial success for the Milan-based fashion company. Following the gala, the New York Times profiled the company's creative director and its revenue increased 16% for the first half of the year.

In response to the suit, Moschino said, "Many of the allegations, especially the inflammatory and gratuitous allegations of wrongdoing are false. We intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit."

The suit demands an injunction as well as disgorgment of profits and further monetary damages.


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 17, 2015 9:12 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Week in Review.

The next post in this blog is Three Contracts Every Music Producer Should Know....

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.