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'The Situation' Sues Vodka Company for $5 Million

'The Situation' Sues Vodka Company for $5 Million

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Mike Sorrentino claims that Devotion Vodka went back on an endorsement deal

'The Situation' is not happy with Devotion Vodka.

While his Jersey Shore castmate is going a different culinary route, The Situation is suing a vodka company he made an endorsement deal with in 2010 for allegedly going back on its contract.

According to the Spirits Business, Mike Sorrentino (aka the Jersey Shore frontman) signed a deal with Devotion Vodka back in 2010. Although Sorrentino has received an 8 percent stake in the company as part of the contract, Devotion Vodka has not given him the extra 2 percent — which Sorrentino claims was his after a one-year anniversary of the deal. Sorrentino also says he was not offered "buy-back" shares in the company at the two-year anniversary of the deal.

Now, Sorrentino is suing the company for $5 milion, or 10 percent of his share of the company. Of course, Sorrentino recently completed a stint in rehab, but he's still hawking the vodka despite being sober.

Brough Brothers sues Kentucky distiller Fresh Bourbon

Kentucky-based whiskey maker Brough Brothers has launched a legal battle against a local producer over its claim to be the state’s first African-American-owned Bourbon distillery.

Brough Brothers in Kentucky was founded by brothers Victor, Bryson, and Christian Yarbrough

Founded by brothers Victor, Bryson, and Christian Yarbrough, Brough Brothers Distillery in Louisville was approved in August 2018. The site, which opened in December 2020, claims to be Kentucky’s first African-American-owned distillery.

The same claim has also been made by Lexington-based Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co, which had its US$5.4 million distillery plans delayed by the pandemic.

Husband and wife Sean and Tia Edwards revealed plans to build the 35,000-square-foot site near the Distillery District in Lexington in February 2020.

Represented by law firm Frost Brown Todd (FBT), Brough Brothers Distillery has now filed a lawsuit against Fresh Bourbon in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The company is calling for it to be ruled as the first African-American-owned distillery in Kentucky, citing ‘unfair competition’ under federal and state law.

“Brough Brothers is the only African-American-owned distillery in Kentucky that holds federal and state permits and thus authorised to distil in Kentucky,” said FBT attorney Chris Robinson. “It is the first to register with the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and Kentucky’s alcohol control board therefore, Brough Brothers is the only African-American-owned distillery legally producing Bourbon.”

Brough Brothers said other firms that have been marketing themselves as the state’s first Black-owned Bourbon distillery are in violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act and the Lanham Act.

Sean and Tia Edwards founded Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co

Victor and Bryson Yarbrough founded Brough Brothers’ parent company Victory Global in 2013, with their brother Chris joining the firm in 2018 to launch the new distillery. The brothers distilled and filled their first barrel of Bourbon in December 2020.

“When we created Victory Global LLC, we recognised the absence of an African American-owned distillery in Kentucky and intended to be the first when we launched Brough Brothers Distillery,” said CEO Victor Yarbrough.

“We’ve worked tirelessly and followed all the legal and required steps to distil and fill our first barrel of Bourbon and are in the process of opening our doors to the public in spring 2021. There is no other African-American-owned distillery in Kentucky. We appreciate the opportunity to present our case before the court and look forward to their decision.”

In the lawsuit, Brough Brothers pointed to several ‘misleading statements’ made by Fresh Bourbon, including ‘Fresh Bourbon’s principals are the first African-Americans to make Kentucky Bourbon that were not slaves’.

Furthermore, Brough Brothers said it employed the first African-American master distiller in Kentucky, a claim that Fresh Bourbon also made. Brough Brothers also said it owned and operated a registered distillery in the state before Fresh Bourbon did.

Brough Brothers is seeking a permanent injunction that prevents Fresh Bourbon from making these claims.

Fresh Bourbon response

Sean Edwards said in a statement: “As the founders and owners of Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co, which was legally formed in 2017, my wife Tia and I stand behind everything we have said about our business, our Bourbon, and the designation the Kentucky Senate honoured us with.

“In association with our distilling partner, we have been barreling our unique mash bill Bourbon since 2018. We also stand behind our award-winning Bourbon which is mashed, distilled, and bottled in Kentucky.

“We believe it is better to celebrate diversity within Bourbon distilling, a Kentucky signature industry, rather than fighting among ourselves over claims. In fact, we reached out multiple times starting last year requesting to have a conversation about creating mutual benefit, which they declined. There are many firsts to accomplish, certainly enough to go around.

“While we believe we, and Brough Brothers, can mutually celebrate our heritage and our Bourbons, we have directed our counsel to vindicate our story, the truth.”

George Clooney

In 2017, George Clooney sold his tequila company Casamigos to spirits and beer giant Diageo for a whopping $700 million. As part of the deal, the actor and his co-owners also stand to make an additional $300 million if the tequila continues to sell like hot cakes over the next 10 years, according to CNBC.

Casamigos Tequila began as a side project for Clooney and his friend Rande Gerber (who is married to supermodel Cindy Crawford) when the two were building neighboring vacation homes in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. After enjoying many of the local tequila varieties for a few months, the two friends paired up with another pal, Michael Meldman, and found a local distiller to make a tequila that they would enjoy serving to their friends and family.

When the friends ended up ordering around 1,000 bottles a year for two consecutive years, their distiller informed them that they'd have to license their product. The business partners introduced their brand to the public in 2013, but Clooney never actually expected the company would grow so quickly.

“If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Clooney told CNBC in 2017. “This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”

8/23/2010 11:00 PM PT

If you have ever thought to yourself, "Man, I want to drink whatever vodka The Situation drinks. And I wish it had protein in it too. But nah, that will never happen" -- boy, do we have a surprise for you!

Sources tell TMZ the "Jersey Shore" money machine scored a $400,000 signing bonus to be the spokesman for a vodka company called Devotion.

But this ain't no ordinary booze -- Devotion contains a clear protein called Casein . which can support an increase in lean body mass and a decrease in body fat if the user is also on some sort of weight training program.

We're told The Sitch's brother, Marc Sorrentino, brokered the deal through the company they run together, MPS Entertainment.

As we previously reported, Sitch is expected to rake in $5 million this year -- we're guessin' he'll drink to that.

Fired columnist sues News Corp.

Gossip columnist Roger Friedman wants more than $5 million in lost wages and damages from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for firing him after he reviewed the company’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” based on a pirated copy of the movie.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court, Friedman says he was illegally fired from his $250,000-a-year job as a columnist and contributor to Fox News. He reiterated his allegation that the copy of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” he viewed online was the same copy that had been given to Murdoch, chairman of News Corp.

Friedman claims that Murdoch inadvertently allowed his own copy of “Wolverine” to be pirated -- and had Friedman fired to cover it up.

The suit gives Friedman’s take on the events of early April that led to his dismissal.

Friedman said he viewed “Wolverine” online, wrote a column about it, then sent an e-mail to a Fox News lawyer about watching the film online and didn’t get a response.

The article went up on the Fox News website April 2, but less than 48 hours later it was taken down.

Friedman said that when he went to his editor, Refet Kaplan, to ask why the review was removed, Kaplan replied, “Rupert Murdoch ordered it taken down.”

Nonetheless, he said, Kaplan told him he had spoken to Fox News chief Roger Ailes and that there was nothing to worry about.

But on April 4, according to the suit, Kaplan told Friedman, “Ailes has got to get with Murdoch.”

Later that day, Friedman was fired and both News Corp. and 20th Century Fox issued critical statements about Friedman and piracy. The News Corp.-owned studio called Friedman’s behavior “reprehensible.”

Inside Fox News, Friedman said, he was still hoping for a reprieve. John Moody, one of Ailes’ top lieutenants there, told Friedman to keep quiet and that on April 6, there would be a meeting that could “repair the situation,” according to the suit.

Friedman, who has hired attorneys Joseph Johnson and Martin Garbus of Eaton & Van Winkle, wants $180,000 he says he is owed on his contract, plus $5 million in damages. In addition to alleging breach of contract, Friedman says the statements from News Corp. and 20th Century Fox libeled him.

Since his firing, Friedman has been blogging for the entertainment trade paper the Hollywood Reporter. He has also been on television recently commenting on Michael Jackson.

A Fox News spokeswoman said the network had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

Husband Sues Liza Minnelli, Citing Drinking and Violence

David Gest sued Liza Minnelli yesterday, claiming that while they lived together she went into numerous alcohol-induced rages and beat him so badly that he ''suffers from virtually constant, unrelenting pain'' in his head.

According to Mr. Gest's lawsuit, Ms. Minnelli gained physical strength from drinking vodka, and would routinely turn that strength against him with her fists. Mr. Gest's complaint, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, details several instances in which he says he was beaten. The couple has been separated since July, and Mr. Gest's lawyer, Raoul L. Felder, expects that formal divorce papers will be filed within a week or so.

In a union that from the start had all the makings of a publicity extravaganza, filing a lawsuit claiming assault before filing for divorce could have been Mr. Gest's way of airing his grievances before the court -- or the public -- in advance of any procedure to end the marriage. Mr. Felder would not discuss the specifics of the lawsuit.

Ms. Minnelli had not yet filed a response in court last evening, and a call to her lawyer, Allan Arrow, was not immediately returned, nor were calls to one of her aides, the agency that represented the couple when they were married, and Ms. Minnelli's booking agency.

In the papers submitted in court, Mr. Gest described himself as 'ɺ world-renown event and concert producer-promoter,'' and Ms. Minnelli as someone whose '⟊reer had been eclipsed, she was an alcoholic, overweight, unable to be effectively merchandised, could not get insurance to perform concert dates on stage, or in any other artistic media.''

Describing one of their typical fights, Mr. Gest said in the complaint that while he and Ms. Minnelli were visiting London in June, she left their hotel saying she was going ''to fetch take-out food.'' But instead, he said, she started drinking vodka while she was out and returned to the hotel intoxicated. He claims she threw a lamp at him and tried to beat up their security guard, screaming and running from room to room.

In the suit, which asks for $10 million, Mr. Gest said that he ''limited his actions to trying to avoid the blows by crossing his arms over his face and shouting repeatedly, 'Liza, stop it, stop it!' ''

While Mr. Felder would not comment on Mr. Gest's case, he said he would welcome the opportunity to talk about domestic violence against men. ''I think it takes a certain kind of strength to reveal it,'' he said.

Ms. Minnelli and Mr. Gest were married with much ado in March 2002 before 1,100 guests at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. At the reception, Carol Channing, a guest, compared the whole thing ''to when they opened the World's Fair.''

Complete Home Bartender's Guide : 780 Recipes for the Perfect Drink

Expect this book to soar to the top of the bestseller list in its field with the most complete coverage of the subject anywhere, from the glass to use, the ice to mix to the garnish to finish it perfectly!
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Add the essential facts of bartending with a professional's master guidance for hosting any gathering in the perfect atmosphere.
Pour in an encyclopedic collection of information about every drink, including brandy, gin, rum, tequila, and vodka whiskey and bourbon champagne and wine bitters and other spirits punches, cups, and eggnogs liqueurs and shooters hot drinks and nonalcoholic drinks.
Mix with Calabrese's recipes for 780 of his personal favorites, from old classics like Negroni, Bellini, and Sidecar, to new and exotic modern reinventions like Cosmopolitan and Apple Martini. And that leaves 775 more to choose from. Stir in hours of fascinating insider tales about how all the classic drinks came to be, the romance of the drink, and glorious photos and art of a sparkling visual history.
Garnish with:
. Live-action pictorials of techniques such as shaking, floating, layering, muddling, blending
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It's the only bartender's guide you'll ever need. Even the right ice cubes are noted!

Suit: Pablo Escobar name belongs with family, not Aspen companies

Escobar Inc., which was founded by the late drug lord’s brother Roberto, is suing Ryan Chadwick and three limited liability companies he controls: Barwest Group, which does business as the Escobar Aspen nightclub downtown Escobar Spirits, which sells Escobar Vodka and Escobar Aspen. The suit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Denver.

“We are the official holding company that manages the rights of both Pablo Escobar, and we do have some issues with the bar and Ryan Chadwick,” Olof Gustafsson, CEO of Escobar Inc., said Monday in a phone interview.

Escobar Inc. is incorporated in Puerto Rico and keeps its headquarters in Beverly Hills, California. According to the company website, Roberto Escobar worked as the accountant and chief of assassination for his brother’s notorious Medellín Cartel, which operated from 1972 to ’93.

“We don’t like going to court but the reality of the situation is we own the Pablo Escobar name and nobody else can use it,” Gustafsson said. “And it’s going to be pretty hard for them to prove that they can use it in a court of law.”

Contacted Tuesday, Chadwick said Escobar Inc. has a questionable business history and he has no plans to stop using the Escobar name despite the court action.

“We’re going to protect what is ours and what we started 10 years ago,” he said. “And all I have to say is, ‘Look at Escobar Inc. and the people who are behind it.’”

Escobar Inc. also has petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Chadwick’s use of the name. Filed April 30, the petition said Escobar Inc. is involved in the sale of Escobar products including cellphones, hookahs, cologne and toys.

Chadwick’s products, such as its Escobar Vodka, T-shirts and related products, are creating confusion in the marketplace, Escobar Inc. argued.

“Alcoholic beverages are a natural area of expansion for Petitioner’s brand,” the petition said. “In fact, Petitioner is in discussions with a French company to license the Pablo Escobar name for alcoholic beverages, who would also sell in the United States.”

That’s the chief point of contention, Chadwick said.

“They want to sell vodka and they want to sell spirits, and they’re saying they can’t do it because I have a trademark on it, so they’re asking us to cancel our trademark,” he said.

Escobar Inc. also has argued that its trademark on PABLO ESCOBAR (the name is used in all caps in filings) trumps Chadwick’s intellectual property for authorized name use.

Chadwick’s legal team responded with a counterclaim against Escobar Inc. on June 10, saying his licensed Escobar intellectual property dates back to 2012, while Escobar Inc.’s goes to 2016 and was filed under false pretenses.

“I feel confident about this,” Chadwick said.

Chadwick said he was unaware of the filing of the lawsuit, which accused him of tarnishing and diluting the Escobar name.

“Plaintiff has requested Defendants on several occasions to cease and desist the use of Pablo Escobar’s name, identity and likeness for their commercial advantage,” the lawsuit said. “However, Defendants have failed to cease and desist and continue to benefit from the use of Pablo Escobar’s name, identity and likeness.”

Pablo Escobar was ranked by Forbes as one the world’s richest people with a net worth of $30 billion, and his cartel also was responsible for more than 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. at one time. He was 44 when he died in December 1993 as a result of a shootout with Colombian authorities.

“Escobar was responsible for the killing of thousands of people, including politicians, civil servants, journalists and ordinary citizens,” said

The suit, however, portrayed Escobar as a legendary and revered figure.

“Pablo Escobar is regarded as one the greatest heroic outlaws of all time by many in Colombia and all over the world,” the suit says. “Moreover, Escobar’s life has been the subject of numerous books, films and television shows. Throughout his life, Escobar was responsible for the construction of houses and football fields in western Colombia for the poor.”

The point being, the suit contended, “the Escobar names have come to identify (Escobar Inc.) exclusively and uniquely and represents enormous goodwill,” while Chadwick’s companies have operated with “the intent to trade off of the significant reputation of Pablo Escobar and of the goodwill symbolized by his name and image.”

Ontario, California, attorney Gurjit Sing is listed at the attorney of record for Escobar Inc. in its litigation with Chadwick, whose counsel is Sabrina Stavish of Denver.

Examples of Escobar Inc. litigation elsewhere include a lawsuit against rap artist 2 Chainz for selling Escobar Crab Cakes at his restaurants and a $2.6 billion lawsuit against Apple. That suit alleges that Apple’s inadequate iPhone security enabled hackers to find his address and threaten him. Escobar Inc. also sells refurbished, gold-plated iPhones in direct competition with Apple.

Jury Orders ‘Jenny Jones’ to Pay $25 Million

A jury in Michigan returned a $25-million civil judgment against the “Jenny Jones” show on Friday, a stinging indictment of the “trash TV” genre that could have a chilling effect on a wide variety of TV programs, say television producers and executives.

The verdict in a suit that sought $71 million is seen as precedent-setting in holding a television program accountable for the actions of a guest--in this case, Jonathan Schmitz, who murdered Scott Amedure in March 1995, three days after taping a never-broadcast episode of Jones’ show about “secret crushes.” Schmitz learned during the taping that his admirer was not a woman but was Amedure, who was interested in a gay relationship.

After seven hours of deliberation, the Pontiac jury agreed the show was negligent and ordered the producers to pay $5 million for pain and suffering, $20 million for the loss of Amedure’s companionship to his family and $6,500 for funeral expenses.

Officials from Warner Bros., the studio that produces and distributes the syndicated talk show, responded defiantly and angrily to the verdict, insisting the jury was motivated by emotion. They said the company will prevail on appeal.

“This judgment is ridiculous and absurd,” said Jim Paratore, president of the studio’s Telepictures Productions, which produces “Jenny Jones.”

Paratore and other executives predicted that the judgment, if allowed to stand, will affect not only “trash TV” but other news and entertainment shows that deal with unpredictable situations.

“It’s going to have a chilling effect on everyone,” Paratore added. “Whether it’s a newsmagazine like ’60 Minutes’ or a show like ‘Jenny Jones’ or ‘Candid Camera,’ we’re put on notice that you better screen the mental background of the participants and be responsible for their behavior after the show, whether it’s three days, three months or three years.”

Larry Lyttle, president of Big Ticket Television, which produces “Judge Judy” and “Judge Joe Brown,” agreed that the judgment would probably have some kind of chilling effect on talk shows and other programs on which guests may be caught off-guard.

On the other hand, Lyttle said that the decision will not necessarily lead to the end of the so-called trash talk show.

“An instance like this will not contribute to the demise of the talk show,” he said. “People don’t seem to mind that these shows are like freak shows. They don’t mind seeing people pound the stuffings out of each other. It’s perverse.”

Few other companies associated with the genre--which includes similarly formatted programs hosted by Jerry Springer and Sally Jessy Raphael--were willing to speak on the record, but reaction among them was mixed as to whether the verdict would alter the content of such programs.

The judgment was announced during the May rating sweeps, when both Springer and Raphael are airing their most confrontational episodes in order to attract larger audiences and boost advertising rates. The brawls this month on Springer’s show have been more frequent and violent, and, in Friday’s installment of “Sally Jessy Raphael,” one guest threatened to “kill” another panelist.

Paratore contended the attorney for Amedure’s family, which brought the suit, “never dealt with the facts of the case.” Instead, the executive said, attorney Geoffrey Fieger told the jury “to send a message to talk shows. He put talk shows on trial. This is not about messages. If he wants to send a message, he should have used Western Union.”

Fieger, who has also represented assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, stated after the verdict that talk shows exploit people for profit, adding, “This industry’s got to clean up itself.”

Some advocates and elected officials who have railed against the “trash TV” trend expressed hope that the ruling will compel producers to tone down programming.

“The real point here is that behavior, and in this case irresponsible behavior, has consequences,” said Dan Gerstein, spokesman for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), who has long campaigned against shows that he says are sleazy and harmful to children. “Maybe this decision will cause the media to think twice before continuing with this exploitative behavior. Shame has not been enough to affect their conduct, but maybe a decision that will address their bottom line will. It’s certainly not a bad message to send to Jerry Springer and his producers.”

Springer, Raphael and show executives declined to comment on the case, but they have denied in previous statements that they are acting irresponsibly.

Producers for Springer have pointed out in the past that potential guests are required to sign a waiver that contains a list of all the possibilities of what could be revealed on the show. The potential panelist must check off on each scenario, saying they would not be overly upset if a specific revelation or situation were to occur.

Other insiders said that Raphael’s show has an on-staff therapist who is backstage every show and keeps in touch with guests for as long as a year after the broadcasts.

Michael H. Shapiro, a constitutional law professor at USC, views the verdict as being highly vulnerable on appeal. “The question is, was this foreseeable,” he said. “It seems to me a stretch that someone could have reasonably foreseen that one guest was going to kill another.”

Lawyers for Warner Bros. have insisted Schmitz was told his “secret admirer” could be a man or woman. They also suggested Schmitz might have killed Amedure because the two had a sexual encounter after the taping, a charge Fieger denied.

Schmitz, characterized as a mentally disturbed young man pushed over the edge by the “Jones” episode, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1996, a verdict overturned in September by the Michigan court of appeals because of the trial judge’s failure to remove a certain juror. Prosecutors are appealing that ruling.

Questions linger as to whether the verdict has any implications beyond the talk-show genre, in terms of other efforts to find television and movies liable for criminal behavior.

In March, the Supreme Court refused to block a lawsuit accusing director Oliver Stone of some responsibility for a murderous spree the plaintiffs say was inspired by his 1994 movie, “Natural Born Killers.” A suit is pending regarding school shootings in West Paducah, Ky., and the film “The Basketball Diaries,” and additional legal action is possible in the wake of the most recent killing spree by teenagers in Littleton, Colo.

In a statement, Jones said she was “shocked and saddened” by the verdict, adding that “the only real tragedy here is that Scott Amedure lost his life. I refuse to lose my faith in the law and in the people I work with, even in the face of this outrageous judgment.”

The Situation Makes More Money Than He Should

In news that is sure to make you re-evaluate all your life choices -- The Situation is estimated to make more than $5 million in 2010, this according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The Sitch takes in roughly $60,000 an episode -- after bonus incentives, a source tells HR. Dude is also expected to rake in $1 million this year in appearance fees.

And there's more -- Situation is also getting paid for "developing" several products -- including an ab-centric workout video and a line of chewable supplements.

The HR also claims Sitch scored a six-figure deal to promote a line of vodka -- plus he'll get partial ownership in the company. He's also released a rap song on iTunes and has signed endorsement deals with Vitamin Water, Reebok and a clothing company.

And get this -- The Situation got a six-figure advance on his autobiography. The book on tape will probably be fascinating.


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