Michael E. Weinsten, (Partner) is a nationally known trial attorney who handles complex litigation and arbitration at the state, federal and international level. He has handled hundreds of disputes on behalf of individuals and businesses ranging from sole proprietorships to some of the leading Fortune 500 companies, in a variety of industries including: sports and entertainment, fashion, high tech, aerospace and defense, banking and finance, insurance and energy. Mr. Weinsten was most recently honored by the Hollywood Reporter on its annual list of Hollywood "Power Lawyers," and by inclusion in Daily Variety's annual "Legal Impact Report," a list of leading attorneys in the entertainment industry.
Mr. Weinsten's litigation practice covers a wide range of disputes including contract disputes, copyright and trademark, licensing and royalty disputes, profit participation, artist/management disputes, defamation, first amendment, right of privacy/publicity, media issues, stalking and harassment, film finance, unfair competition, art theft, fraud, securities, general corporate matters, insurance and employment.
In the area of sports and entertainment, Mr. Weinsten has represented many of Hollywood's A-List actors, influencers, musicians, athletes, directors, writers, producers, agents and managers, as well as cable companies, studios, record labels and video game companies.
* Mr. Weinsten represented the founders of Gurney Productions (creators of Duck Dynasty and other reality TV hits) in a $150,000,000 lawsuit against British television behemoth ITV, following ITV's attempt to oust the Gurneys from the company they founded and acquire their interest at a fraction of its true value. Prior to settlement, Mr. Weinsten obtained a preliminary injunction from the state court reinstating the Gurneys as managing members of the company and obtaining a ruling stating that the Gurneys were likely to prevail on the merits of their claims.
* On behalf of Ellen DeGeneres, one of the country's most notable talk show hosts, comedians and celebrity personalities, Mr. Weinsten filed suit to stop a group of companies and individuals involved in a multi-million dollar online marketing scam employing false celebrity endorsements to sell beauty products and to recover millions in damages from defendants' misappropriation of Ms. DeGeneres' rights of publicity.
* In a first case of its kind, Mr. Weinsten defended celebrity/actress/model Paris Hilton against allegations that Ms. Hilton failed to adequately promote a film in which she starred. Mr. Weinsten tried the case in Federal court in Miami, after which the Judge dismissed claims for $8.5 million in damages.
* Defended hip-hop artist Drake against copyright claims concerning Drake's alleged use of plaintiff's voice and lyrics in the iconic song Marvin's Room without permission or compensation.
* On behalf of singer/actress Selena Gomez, successfully pursued claims against a fragrance company for numerous violations of a worldwide licensing deal with Ms. Gomez.
* Mr. Weinsten represented global toy and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc. in its copyright dispute with Sweatpea Entertainment over the movie rights to the iconic property Dungeons & Dragons. The case was tried in Federal Court and reached an amicable resolution prior to issuance of a final ruling by the Court.
* In a case of first impression, Mr. Weinsten represented actor James Woods in a defamation lawsuit directed at a number of anonymous twitter users who falsely claimed that Mr. Woods is a cocaine addict. At the early stages of litigation, Mr. Weinsten defeated an anti-SLAPP motion brought by one defendant, who claimed the defamatory tweet was mere hyperbole and/or loose expression and, therefore, protected by the First Amendment. The Court found in favor of Mr. Woods, finding that Mr. Woods was likely to prevail on the merits. Thereafter, the case was favorably resolved in a confidential settlement.
* Mr. Weinsten has represented some of the top social media influencers, including among others, Lele Pons, Bethany Mota and Model Roz, in a variety of disputes including defamation, privacy matters and contractual matters.
* Obtained a $13,000,000 arbitration award on behalf of a television executive terminated in breach of his contract.
* Mr. Weinsten is regularly engaged in matters related to the #MeToo movement and the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal. He has represented several high profile actresses and models in connection with claims of sexual assault and harassment against prominent figures in the entertainment and fashion world, and has defended a number of actors, producers and executives wrongly accused of inappropriate conduct.
* Successfully represented former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson in a suit against the World Boxing Council to force a title bout against the existing champion.
* On behalf of a New Zealand film company, obtained one of the largest monetary awards ever rendered by the Independent Film and Television Alliance in a dispute involving a failed joint venture with a US company.
* Obtained an injunction on behalf of cable channel E! Entertainment effectively halting the illegal broadcast of its programming in the Middle East and North Africa.
* Successfully defended academy award winning writer/director, Brian Helgeland, in a breach of contract action, obtaining an early dismissal of the case.
Obtained dismissal on summary judgment of sexual harassment claims brought against a top radio executive.
* On behalf of a major talent management company, obtained early dismissal of indemnity claims brought against the company and a substantial monetary award for sanctions against opposing counsel.
* On behalf of the Backstreet Boys, one of America's top selling music groups, successfully sued a group of insurance carriers to obtain insurance coverage when the band was forced to cancel a nationwide tour.
* Employing a Talent Agencies Act defense, successfully defended Stone Temple Pilots, one of 90's most iconic rock bands, in a multi-million dollar commission dispute asserted by the band's former manager.
* Successfully defended the star of one of the highest rated television sitcoms from defamation claims arising from an interview with a major tabloid publication.
* On behalf of a film financier, obtained an injunction freezing the assets of a major production company who misused and diverted the client's funds to unapproved projects.
Outside of the entertainment arena, Mr. Weinsten assisted the Boeing Company to recover $300 million in a breach of contract action against the United States Government. Mr. Weinsten also represented the Government of Indonesia in its efforts to invalidate a $2.5 billion contract allegedly tainted by official corruption and assisted in obtaining a court injunction barring arbitration filed under that contract.
* A frequent lecturer on key legal issues affecting the entertainment community, Mr. Weinsten is a certified provider of MCLE. He has also been quoted in various business and legal publications discussing entertainment matters, including among others the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. He is also a Co-Author of the legal treatise Entertainment Litigation, initially published by Oxford University Press, 2011. (Chapter titled "Invasion of Privacy, Stalking and Harassment"). He also authored the article "Anti-Paparazzi Law Sports Bigger Bite," appearing in the Jan. 8, 2010 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
* Mr. Weinsten participated in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Trial Attorney Project, where he successfully prosecuted three criminal cases achieving guilty verdicts in each matter.
* Mr. Weinsten was named as one of the 'Top 100' by Southern California Super Lawyers and has been included on the Southern California Super Lawyers list from 2006-2017. He was honored in the 2019 and 2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Entertainment Law- Motions Pictures and Television. Mr. Weinsten has also been selected for inclusion in Daily Variety's Legal Impact Report, an annual list of the leading attorneys in the entertainment industry. and in 2020 was included in The Hollywood Reporter's list of "Power Lawyers."
Entertainment & Media Litigation
Tulane University (B.A., cum laude, 1987)
London School of Economics, Junior Year Abroad 1985-1986
The National Law Center at George Washington University (J.D., with honors, 1991)
The State Bar of California
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