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“Man Show” Sued By Unwitting Butt Of Off-Color Joke

‘Man Show’ Sued By Unwitting Butt Of Off-Color Joke

LAW

by Amanda Bronstad

With reality television’s popularity leading producers to search for sometimes unwitting subjects, the suit filed by Patrick Finnegan was probably inevitable.

Finnegan was caught on a tape that aired on Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” having what he felt was an embarrassing conversation with a young boy.

Claiming he never gave permission for his likeness to be used by the show, he brought suit in L.A. Superior Court on Aug. 9 against the network’s parent companies, Viacom Inc. and Time Warner Entertainment Co. LP, and show producer Stone Stanley Entertainment. He is asking the court to enjoin them from airing material that does not have the consent of those that have been taped.

“The producers of ‘The Man Show’ systematically defraud and/or deceive members of the public who are taped by the defendants for commercial gain,” the suit says.

Finnegan was at the beach with a female friend when a boy of between 10 and 14 years old asked them to help him blow up a beach ball, said Nathan Goldberg, an attorney at Allred Maroko & Goldberg PPC who represents Finnegan.

When Finnegan’s female friend began to blow up the ball, the boy made “lewd sexual comments” that were “highly offensive” to Finnegan. After the boy left, several camera operators appeared, informing Finnegan that he was on “The Man Show,” Goldberg said. Finnegan never signed a release authorizing “The Man Show” to air the conversation he had with the boy, the suit says.

But tape of the conversation aired as part of a one-minute segment, Goldberg said. Finnegan sued over misappropriation of likeness and unfair business practices.

Time Warner referred calls to Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox, who did not respond for comment. Calls to Stone Stanley, which is based in L.A., were not returned.

Closing the Gates

Preston Gates & Ellis LLP is closing its Los Angeles office after eight years, the managing partner of the Seattle-based firm said.

“The practices that we had there were not successful on a stand-alone basis, and we were not able to expand them sufficiently beyond the client base we had to make them viable,” said Gerry Johnson.

All three partners, three associates and several support staff will join the L.A. office of Piper Rudnick LLP on Sept. 3. Jane Barrett headed Preston Gates’ L.A. office. Barrett and partners Katherine Marelich and Audra Mori, could not be reached for comment.

The three partners shared a client, Microsoft Corp., with Piper Rudnick’s local office, said Jeffrey Rosenfeld, managing partner of Piper Rudnick’s L.A. office.

At its peak, Preston Gates had 20 attorneys in L.A., Johnson said. The firm primarily focused on intellectual property prosecution, expanding briefly to include other litigation and environmental work.

The decision to close the office came several weeks ago, Johnson said.

Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 225, or at

abronstad@labusinessjournal.com.

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