Lindsay Lohan’s Attorney May Have ‘Given Pitbull Everything’ . . . by Plagiarizing
In the legal world, the level of professional responsibility is set at such a high standard that when an attorney acts unethically, it can haunt an individual for the rest of his or her career. Time will tell whether this is the case for Lindsay Lohan’s attorney, Stephanie Ovadia.
Lohan and Ovadia filed suit against rapper, Pittbull, in the summer of 2011 for the verse, “So, I’m tiptoein’, to keep flowin’, I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan,” in his hit record, “Give Me Everything.” Filed under New York civil rights laws, Lohan is seeking an injunction from having her name exploited for commercial purposes by Pitbull and other named defendants including songwriters Ne-Yo and Afrojack, Sony Music Holdings, RCA Music Group, Polo Grounds Music, and Mr. 305 Enterprise. However, last week, Pitbull proved that he was not going down without a fight. His attorney, Marcos Daniel Jimenez, filed a motion to dismiss alleging that Ovadia plagiarized her legal briefs. Jimenez contends that Ovadia lifted portions of her briefs from various online sources. Additionally, he filed examples of the plagiarism with side-by-side comparisons of excerpts from her legal briefs and the online sources.
While the case already seemed to be an unlikely victory for Lohan because of the rapper’s free speech rights, an entirely different can of worms has been opened with the plagiarism allegations. The Copyright Act protects “works of authorship,” which includes newspaper articles and newspapers. It has been reported that Ovadia’s plagiarized sources include the Los Angeles Times. Therefore, the Los Angeles Times could potentially have a valid cause of action for infringement if in fact Ovadia had plagiarized her legal briefs. Further, it is also up for debate as to whether Ovadia would have a fair use defense given the factual nature of newspaper content.
Now, not only is Ovadia’s career at stake, but what’s left of her client’s reputation is being further tarnished by these allegations. But some good news for LiLo: although the briefs were filed on behalf of Lohan, it is highly unlikely that she too would be held liable for infringement. It seems that the only thing Lindsay Lohan will be liable for is surrounding herself with unreliable people that help fuel her ongoing saga of courtroom appearances.
And who doesn’t love celebrity courtroom drama?