Jenner & Block

 

Representative matters of Ms. Stein’s include:

  • Kaffaga v. Steinbeck et. al (C.D. Cal):  Key member of a Jenner & Block team that won a federal jury verdict of $13.15 million in damages for the Estate of Elaine Steinbeck, the late wife of author John Steinbeck, in a weeklong trial over the rights to the writer’s works. In 2014, estate executor Waverly Scott Kaffaga sued Thom and Gail Steinbeck, John’s son and daughter-in-law, as well as their company Palladin, for wrongly claiming control over the copyrights, harming the catalogue as a whole, and, in particular, interfering with movie deals for East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath. By claiming to control the rights, defendants caused Universal and Imagine Entertainment to walk away from a movie deal for East of Eden involving Gary Ross and Jennifer Lawrence and interfered with negotiations with DreamWorks for a movie deal involving The Grapes of Wrath, depriving the estate of millions of dollars in potential revenue. In November 2016, US District Court Judge Terry Hatter granted Ms. Kaffaga’s motion for summary judgment on claims for breach of contract and slander of title, leaving the jury to decide potential damages for those claims and whether Thom (now deceased), Gail and their company wrongfully interfered with the East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath projects. The September 2017 verdict, which included $7.9 million in punitive damages and $5.25 million in compensatory, clears up much of the confusion about who actually owns the rights to the author’s works and allows long-stalled film and television projects to potentially move forward.  During the trial, Ms. Stein examined and cross-examined several key witnesses.  Many media outlets covered the trial and verdict, including New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, among many others.  Law360, which also covered the trial and verdict, named the firm one of its “Legal Lions” for the win in its “Weekly Verdict” column.
  • Steinbeck et. al v. Kaffaga (C.D. Cal.):  Secured a victory for the Estate of Elaine Steinbeck, the late wife of novelist John Steinbeck, and all of its beneficiaries, when a judge dismissed with prejudice the latest copyright lawsuit filed by Steinbeck’s son and granddaughter. That decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit in a November 2017 decision. 
  • Estate of Barre v. Pretty Bird Pictures, et al. (E.D. La.): Represented music streaming service in copyright infringement litigation arising from alleged use of deceased performer’s voice in music video for hit song “Formation” resulting in confidential settlement agreement.
  • Iconix v. Roc Nation Apparel Group, LLC et al. (S.D.N.Y.).: Representing Roc Nation Apparel Group in a dispute with a branding company over the use of the Roc Nation trademark on apparel. The case is currently pending.
  • Viacom v. Baca (D. N.M.): Represent studio in copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against creator of infringing live show based on unauthorized use of studio’s valuable franchise.
  • UMG Recordings et. al. v. Escape Media Group (S.D.N.Y.):  Represented major record labels in a copyright infringement case asserting direct and secondary claims against the operators of the Grooveshark music service.  Obtained summary judgment ruling that defendants infringed more than 5,000 copyrighted sound recordings.  Prepared for jury trial seeking over $750 million in statutory damages, and obtained major pre-trial ruling that defendants’ infringements were willful.  Secured consent judgments and favorable settlement resulting in the shutdown of service and the assignment of intellectual property. 
  • UMG Recordings v. Escape Media Group (N.Y. Supreme Court):  Represented major record label in a case involving the scope of protection for “pre-1972” sound recordings under New York state common law copyright laws as it related to the unauthorized use of sound recordings on the Grooveshark music service.  Obtained decision from the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court dismissing the assertion that defenses found in the Copyright Act precluded protection for “pre-1972” sound recordings under state law.
  • Arista Records et. al. v. Vita Tkatch et al. (S.D.N.Y.):  Obtained ex parte domain name seizure order, temporary restraining order, and preliminary injunction against counterfeit online music service.  Secured a ruling from the Court holding that the preliminary injunction order applied to a third party Internet intermediary that provided services to the enjoined counterfeit service. 
  • In re Jason Wulf: Represent the estate of Jason Wulf (“DG”), a world-renowned street artist. Ms. Stein has represented his estate for years, and worked to help secure copyrights of his works and to stop the unauthorized sale of his art following his untimely death in 2014.
  • Meredith Corp. v. SESAC (S.D.N.Y.):  Represented SESAC in antitrust class action brought by a putative class of independent television stations.  SESAC is a performing rights organization that licenses musical compositions on behalf of affiliated composers and music publishers.  The plaintiffs alleged that SESAC violated antitrust laws in the way it licenses musical works for television programming.  After granting in part and denying in part SESAC’s summary judgment motion, the parties reached a settlement.
  • Arista Music et al. v. United Airlines Inc. et al. (S.D.N.Y.):  Represented major record label in a matter against United Airlines and two foreign based suppliers relating to the unlicensed use of music used in its in-flight entertainment.  The parties reached a confidential settlement agreement.
  • Getty Images (US), Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. (S.D.N.Y.):  Represented digital images company in copyright litigation concerning the intersection of search engine technology and copyright protection.  Achieved favorable settlement.
  • The S. Hekemian Group v. The Related Companies, L.P (S.D.N.Y.).:  Represented real estate developer in a suit over use of the phrase “The Next Great Neighborhood,” defeating a motion for preliminary injunction on the grounds of fair use and failure to show likelihood of confusion resulting in voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit.
  • Porco v. Lifetime Television:  Filed amicus brief in the New York Appellate Division, Third Department, on behalf of numerous media organizations in support of Lifetime Television in the highly publicized case of Porco v. Lifetime. 
  • Represent artist management companies and estates in licensing negotiations, transactions, and clearance work.
  • Trademark enforcement, clearance, and litigation work for multiple technology and media companies, and corporations.
  • Represented an angel investor in popular website in lawsuit seeking indemnity/advancement of legal fees from ex-company in the Delaware Court of Chancery.  Obtained an expedited summary judgment victory.
  • Represented an individual angel investor and not-for-profit consortium of angel investors defending claims of breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets over a popular website in the New York Appellate Division, First Department.
  • Represented global publishing company in several copyright-related matters.
  • Represented bank executives before the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into money laundering and terrorist financing.

Her pro bono engagements include:

  • Sulaiman v. Laram (S.D.N.Y.): Represented two human trafficking victims in lawsuit alleging violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standard Act, and other common law claims.  After defeating a motion to dismiss, the case resulted in a confidential settlement. 
  • Filed amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of women’s and health organizations in support of petitioners in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case.
  • Represented New York State prisoner in a jury trial in the Southern District of New York on his section 1983 claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs that went to a jury trial.
  • Represented photographer and documentary filmmaker in the intellectual property management and protection of her work.