When 7-foot-2 former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal walks into a room, it’s hard not to notice. But one federal judge found this week that it’s hard to miss his absence too.
O’Neal is the defendant in a lawsuit alleging that he violated the publicity rights of plaintiff Jahmel Binion and intentionally caused Binion emotional distress. Binion suffers from ectodermal dysplasia, a condition that results in an unusual physical appearance due to abnormalities in hair, teeth and nails, according to his complaint.
Shaq posted Instagram and Twitter pictures of himself, contorting his face, juxtaposed against pictures of Binion. The Twitter post was allegedly sent to over 8.6 million followers and received numerous “likes” and comments.
On Jan. 27, the parties held a mandatory mediation conference. O’Neal’s attorneys appeared at the conference and Shaq was available for part of the conference via Skype. But the court said that wasn’t good enough: local rule 16.2(e) requires all parties to be present at mediation unless excused by the judge.
Like good teammates, O’Neal’s lawyers put up their hands and accepted the foul on his behalf—to the tune of $13,058.82. The court awarded that amount, which represented Binion’s attorney fees and travel costs for the mediation and the sanctions motion. (Shaq’s attorneys didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
We’ll be watching the lawsuit on its merits and let you know if Shaq still plays world-class defense. Binion’s case may not be a slam dunk, but he’ll be in better shape if Shaq keeps committing technical fouls.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).