Haynes and Boone's Newsroom
Haynes and Boone Clients Prevail in Copyright Lawsuit
– After a two-week trial in federal district court, a jury took only two hours to return a unanimous verdict denying all claims brought by author and nationally syndicated radio host Michael “The Bad Boy” Baisden against Houston-based I'm Ready Productions (IRP) and its founders, Je'Caryous Johnson and Gary Guidry.
The jury found that Haynes and Boone, LLP client IRP had not infringed Baisden's copyrights of his books, "Men Cry in the Dark" and "Maintenance Man" by distributing videos of the IRP stage-plays of the same names with distributor Image Entertainment.
The jury also found that IRP and Baisden had valid agreements allowing the distribution of the videos and that Baisden was not owed any money for that distribution. In addition, the jury found that a tour of "Men Cry in the Dark" was authorized by Baisden in 2005. In fact, the defense team showed during trial that Mr. Baisden promoted the tour on his show. Finally, the jury denied Baisden's claim that IRP had misappropriated his name without his permission in connection with the videos and 2005 tour.
All claims were also denied against Image Entertainment, which was the distributor of the IRP videos, and ALW Entertainment, the promoter of IRP's 2002 and 2003 tours of "Men Cry" and "Maintenance Man."
Before trial, Baisden had claimed $15 million in damages, but the court threw out $12 million in claimed movie damages. At trial, Baisden claimed about $4.5 million in damages.
"We are extremely gratified by the jury's verdict," said David Harper, head of Haynes and Boone's litigation section in Dallas and lead counsel for IRP, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Guidry and ALW Entertainment. "This case has been hanging over Je'Caryous and Gary for the last three years and was very stressful for them and the company. The jury's verdict vindicates their character and affirms the actions they took were in full compliance with their agreements. I am extremely happy for them and look forward to their great future."
Dallas Associate Jason Bloom tried the case along with Mr. Harper. Other members of the Haynes and Boone trial team included Houston partners Kirk Worley and Kent Rutter, Houston Associate Christina Crozier and Dallas Associate Michelle Jacobs.
The case is Civil Action No. 4:08-CV-00451.
About I’m Ready Productions, Inc.:
I’m Ready Productions, Inc. (”I’m Ready”) is a national, minority owned, theatre, television, feature film and music production company based in Houston. In 2007, I’m Ready won the NAACP Trailblazer award for being the first touring company to adapt an African-American romance novel for the stage. Founded in 1995 by executive producers Mr. Johnson and and Mr. Guidry, I’m Ready is known for its soul-stirring plays. Breaking box office records, more than two million people in over 50 cities have turned out for I’m Ready plays. From turning bestselling African-American novels into plays, to approaching Hollywood’s hottest stars for its productions, I’m Ready’s approach is fearless and outside-of-the-box, changing the face of American touring theatre.
About Haynes and Boone, LLP:
Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Moscow, providing a full spectrum of legal services. With more than 550 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by The National Law Journal. The firm has been named one of the "Best Corporate Law Firms in America" (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2009) and recognized as a “Top 20 Law Firm” for culture and for diversity with respect to both women and minorities (Vault, 2011).