Entertainment

DIY celebrity litigation

By Liz Braun, Postmedia Network

So you want to sue a celebrity?!!!

Get in line.

From Justin Bieber's bogus paternity suit to Paris Hilton's lingerie boondoggle, those in the spotlight seem to be spending almost as much time in the courtroom. Everybody is suing a celebrity. And vice versa.

Why? Because they can. Celebrities tend to have more money than the average bear and a much greater need to avoid bad publicity, so people like to sue them in hope of a big payday. Never mind if the suit is wrong, frivolous or just a lie -- there's nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain. At any rate, that seems to be the reasoning.

How do people get into a position to sue the famous?

The suers, as it were, are usually personnel, parasite, paramour or paparazzo.

The first and easiest route -- personnel -- is to work for them. Or with them.

The biggest legal pile-on of the moment, for example, centres on John Travolta, in the news for various law suits - some of them already dropped - brought against him alleging improper sexual conduct.

Travolta and his lawyer, Marty Singer, are also being sued for libel by Robert Randolph, author of You'll Never Spa in This Town Again; Randolph claims mean things said about him and his mental health by Marty Singer have harmed his reputation. Seriously.

In other work-related news, Beyonce is getting sued for pulling out of a deal to make a dance video game and famous chefs Paula Deen and Gordon Ramsey are but two of the high profile cookers being sued by disgruntled former employees.

Of course, there's no end to the nannies, personal assistants, accountants, cleaners, drivers and other staff members who have sued their famous employers.

Lady Gaga was sued by a former personal assistant; Sharon Stone was sued by her nanny for racial slurs; Sting and Trudie Styler were sued by a former chef.

Naomi Campbell has been sued by so many assistants she's practically created a separate employment opportunity. (Isn't it weird that after the second or third incident, anyone else would ever apply for the job? Ka-ching!)

Sometimes another way to sue a celebrity is to get in their way: simple proximity, real or imagined.

Poor li'l Bieber had a paternity suit tossed his way, then he was sued for a phone prank that allegedly saw two residents of Texas inundated by more than 1,000 phone calls from his fans. More recently, Bieber is being sued for criminal battery by a paparazzi.

The paps are regularly suing someone (Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, Megan Fox, Brian Austin Green, etc.) for being run over, pushed over, punched out and stepped on. Perhaps some clever judge will eventually point out the inherent risks of the job.

Palimony suits may be a thing of the past, but paramour suits are current and usually over offspring. Halle Berry was sued for child support and was recently ordered to pay $20,000 a month for same to her ex-boyfriend.

As for those celeb-on-celeb law suits, there are plenty more and most of them work-related. Steven Baldwin sued Kevin Costner (and lost) over a business deal involving oil spill clean-up machinery. Kelsey Grammer is being sued by TV actor Lydia Cornell, who says he got her into a Ponzi scheme. Grammer said he too got taken in the scheme and is not happy about any of it.

Oh, look! Marty Singer is Grammer's lawyer, too. Singer is a famous Hollywood lawyer most often described as a 'pit bull' and apparently invaluable in protecting the good name of celebrities when they get sued. In the litigious world o'Tinseltown, it seems, if you can't join them, beat them.


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