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1. Disabled and Unable to Rock
Highest Court E.D. North Carolina
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants Federal Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Accelerators
Short Description Plaintiff, an unsuccessful musician and former leader of the band the "Accelerators," released four albums and only made a profit of $900. Plaintiff began having chronic migraines which prevented him from holding a job and pursuing a career as a musician, leading him to apply for disability benefits. Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) initially denied his claim for benefits, the court remanded his case back to the SSA for reconsideration. - SKR & LSW

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2. Inmate: "Let My Lil' Kim Go!"
Highest Court Third Circuit
Year Ended 2006
Plaintiffs Inmate(s)
Defendants Correctional Institution(s)
Federal Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Lil' Kim
Short Description A federal prisoner filed a motion of behalf of Lil' Kim seeking her release from federal prison. Unfortunately for Lil' Kim, the court held that the prisoner lacked standing to file such a motion, and dismissed his claim. - SKR

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3. Very Delusional Plaintiff
Highest Court D. Arizona
Year Ended 1995
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Diamond, Neil
Federal Entity and/or Official(s)
Mathis, Johnny
Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Professional Athlete(s)
Williams, Andy
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description In one of the most entertaining cases within this database involving mentally delusional Plaintiffs suing celebrities for various outlandish acts, the Plaintiff here sued musicians Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, and Andy Williams, in addition to various public figures, including Barbara Bush and Charles Barkley, for various acts, including intentionally inflicting emotional distress and, as is common with such suits, violating Plaintiff's constitutional rights in some way (here he alleged Civil Rights complaints). Specifically, he claimed they used him "as a guinea pig by injecting Plaintiff with germs, subjecting Plaintiff to electric shocks, and examining and inserting probes into Plaintiff's orifices." The case was, obviously, dismissed. And the opinion doesn't even say what Barkley's involvement was! - LSW

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4. Disabled Bassist Wants Aid
Highest Court Fifth Circuit
Year Ended 1987
Plaintiffs Back-Up Musician(s)
Defendants Federal Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Berry, Chuck
Hampton, Lionel
Otis, Johnny
Short Description An unfortunate story of a once-successful musician, who had previously bass for Chuck Berry, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Otis, and others, but whose life descended into a state of despair. After losing his hearing and thus being unable to perform music, Plaintiff was a government employee until terminated for absenteeism. He sued for disability benefits, but was ineligible since he hadn't worked the job the required period. - LSW

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5. Author Wants Seeger FBI Files
Highest Court N.D. California
Year Ended 1981
Plaintiffs Book Author(s)
Defendants Federal Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Almanac Singers
Seeger, Pete
Short Description The author of a biography on Pete Seeger sought documents the FBI prepared on Seeger's various musical groups and entities, including the Almanac Singers and the Weavers. Unsurprisingly, the government refused a decent percentage of Plaintiff's requests, either in whole or in part, though both the FBI and the court below failed to provide detailed explanations for the exclusions. After the government made clear it had no intention to provide adequate explanations, the court undertook an in camera review of the documents to determine whether the claimed exclusions were valid. The court found the FBI's general claims regarding threats to "national security" were not only insufficient, but largely unfounded; most information in the reports was "mundane," and the Freedome of Information Act was enacted largely to prevent the continued classified status of aged documents such as these. However, certain named third parties could be excluded from the revealed information, because they should not be punished for the government's negligence. Some documents were found exempted as pertaining to purely "housekeeping" activities within the FBI or Congress, others disclosed names of individuals that were at one time of investigatory interest to the FBI or were once "confidential sources." However, a decent number of documents pertained generally to FBI techniques, which were not exempted, and others simply fell outside the scope of excludable materials. The court ordered the FBI to hand over all documents improperly withheld, but allowed the deletions of properly excluded information. Regardless, the court was very unhappy with how flippant the FBI had been in providing explanations for their claimed exemptions. For a similar case regarding John Lennon, see "Professor: "Gimme Files on Lennon!" - LSW

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6. Caruso's Royalties Taxable?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 1931
Plaintiffs Spouse of Artist(s)
Defendants Federal Entity and/or Official(s)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Other Caruso, Enrico
Short Description Enrico Caruso's wife sued the Internal Revenue Service to receive previously overpaid taxes, alleging that Caruso--as a nonresident of the United States--did not owe taxes on all moneys earned from his Victor Records recordings, much of which occurred abroad. Caruso was granted a 10% royalty on his recordings for the record label, which earned significant income. Had Caruso been a U.S. Citizen, all income would be taxable, but if not, only the income generated within the U.S. would be. The court held that Caruso was a nonresident, but that all royalties paid by Victor were generated within the U.S., which was where the contracts were formed and the recordings rendered. Further, the fame that led to the contracts was built in the U.S. According to the tax laws, tax should be paid on "all gross income from sources within the United States," and thus the income was taxable. - LSW

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