Lindsay Lohan has spent some time behind bars. Pitbull (born Armando Perez) is a rapper whose music often features his take on popular culture and its more dynamic characters, sometimes with a wink and a nod.
What could go wrong?
Well, he could write a song like 2011’s hit “Give Me Everything,” in which he drops the bon mot, “So I’m tip-toein’ to keep blowin’/ I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” and the actress could claim the slight caused her emotional distress and file a lawsuit.
That’s exactly what happened. But, according to the Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Court Judge Denis Hurley ruled on Thursday that the song is a protected piece of art, dismissing the suit.
Lohan filed suit in November, claiming that the song, “includes an unwarranted, unauthorized, and unfavorable mention of [her] name and personality, and allusions to [her] physical and mental character,” which violated her publicity rights and caused emotional distress.
In dismissing the suit, Judge Hurley said the publicity/privacy rights claim, based on a provision of New York Civil Rights law, “doesn’t apply to works of art, and that the First Amendment affords full protection,” according to the Reporter. Additionally, Hurley wrote, “The fact that the Song was presumably created and distributed for the purpose of making a profit does not mean that plaintiff’s name was used for ’advertising’ or ’purposes of trade’ within the meaning of the New York Civil Rights Law.”
Though he rejected Lohan’s argument that the song was commercial rather than expressive in nature, Hurley said even if he’d reached the opposite conclusion, the “isolated nature of the use of her name” in just one line in the song would “prove fatal” to her claims.
Pitbull filed a countersuit in November 2011 claiming that primarily California-based Lohan was not eligible to file suit in New York state court. That action came a month after Pit invited Lohan to be his date to the 2011 MTV VMAs.
Lohan’s lawyer, Stephanie Ovadia, was also sanctioned for plagiarism in the lawsuit after it was reported that the plaintiff’s court briefs were copied from newspapers, law firms and other education websites. Ovadia did not dispute those charges, but did reportedly attempt to convince the judge that an early draft of the complaint had inadvertently been used and that she had tried to later substitute it with an amended court brief. Hurley fined Ovadia $750 for an “affront to the Court.”
Lohan dodged a bullet in the case, dodging a sanction for filing a frivolous lawsuit that Pitbull’s attorney’s had requested after Hurley said there was no precedent for such action.