Debevoise & Plimpton LLP partner Jeremy Feigelson has been named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer’s Litigation Daily. In selecting Mr. Feigelson, the publication observed, “[I]n the end, we were most impressed by a pair of cases of first impression before New York’s high court with direct relevance to the technology industry, Hollywood studios, celebrities and their publicity agents and privacy advocates, among others.”
In the first New York case to address a right-of-publicity claim against video games, Debevoise secured the dismissal of two lawsuits against client Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., the maker of the popular video game, Grand Theft Auto V. In the two right-of-publicity cases brought in New York State Court under Section 51 of the New York Civil Rights Law—one by actress Lindsay Lohan, the other by Karen Gravano, formerly featured on the TV show Mob Wives—the plaintiffs claimed that characters in GTAV are actually them.
As the Litigation Daily profile noted, “It’s a decision that’s likely to reverberate throughout the $100 billion video game industry, and earned Feigelson the mantle of litigator of the week.”
In its coverage, Litigation Daily also acknowledged that the impact of these cases will extend beyond the parties involved. “‘That’s a huge win for our client,’ Feigelson said. ‘It’s a huge win for the creative community generally to say that judges should have the power to decide the issue of resemblance as a matter of law right up front on a motion to dismiss. It’s going to save the creative community a lot of headaches and a lot of litigation expense going forward.’”
The Debevoise team in these matters was led by partner Jeremy Feigelson, Co-Chair of the firm’s Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice and member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Media Group. Jared I. Kagan has been the principal associate on these cases since they were filed in 2014.
To learn more about the significance of these decisions, please read Game Over: New York’s Highest Court Rejects Right of Publicity Claims Against Grand Theft Auto V. To learn more about Mr. Feigelson’s “Litigator of the Week” selection, please read Litigator of the Week: A Video Game Blowout (Sorry Lindsay Lohan).
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