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'Sesame Street' Lawsuit Judge Sides with Ejaculating Puppets

5/30/2018 7:40 PM PDT

6/1/18 5:10 PM PT -- It looks like the puppet wars are over -- Sesame Street just dismissed its lawsuit against producers of "The Happytime Murders" ... according to new legal docs.Melissa McCarthy and her cast of raunchy puppets are free to keep using their "Sesame Street"-inspired tagline -- 'cause a judge says the 2 ideas are clearly not the same thing.

A judge in NYC handed down a ruling Wedenesday in favor of STX Productions -- which is producing McCarthy's "The Happytime Murders" -- saying the film's catchphrase, "No Sesame. All Street.," makes a blatant distinction to fans that this is NOT "Sesame Street." 

As we reported ... Sesame Workshop is suing STX for allegedly infringing on their company name, and trashing their kid-friendly reputation with a not-so-kid-friendly flick.

Lawyers for "Sesame Street" reportedly tried saying that an older court case about a 1970s porn movie named "Debbie Does Dallas" being found to infringe on the Dallas Cowboys' good name supported their argument now ... but the judge shot that down, saying that flick's X-rated ... this one's R ... and there's a difference.

STX issued a statement through their pupper lawyer, Fred, Esq., saying ... "We fluffing love Sesame Street and we're obviously very pleased that the ruling reinforced what STX's intention was from the very beginning — to honor the heritage of The Jim Henson Company's previous award-winning creations while drawing a clear distinction between any Muppets or Sesame Street characters and the new world Brian Henson and team created."

Long story short ... ejaculating puppets walked away with a win on the street.

Prince Woman Thinks She's His Daughter ... Makes Claim to Estate

5/21/2018 11:51 AM PDT

Prince might've had a biological daughter who was never looped in on what would happen with the late singer's estate ... so claims a woman in new legal docs.

The woman in question, Snowe Melinda Saxman, filed paperwork in a Minnesota court -- obtained by TMZ -- in which she says she believes she's Prince's birth daughter ... but her evidence is pretty thin.

Saxman says she was adopted, and never knew her real parents -- but, based on her "substantial physical, temperamental and aspirational similarities to Prince" ... she has reason to believe she's his actual kid. She also claims she looks like Prince, and has musical prowess like her father. As she puts it ... she's "very artsy" and a "natural-born star."

There's more ... Saxman goes on to say she recently did a background check of herself through a company called Family Tree DNA, which she claims shows she's matched up genetics-wise with numerous people in Prince's family tree, including John Lewis Nelson, Mattie Della Baker, and others. She says she didn't match with Prince directly 'cause his DNA's not in the system.

She says she was never notified about any proceedings in Prince's probate case, which some of his heirs claim is burning cash like crazy managing the singer's posthumous affairs. Sounds like she wants to get in on the Estate ... and stake a claim to what's left behind.

'Survivor' Contestant Kara Kay Was A Willing Participant ... In Alec's IG Posts

5/18/2018 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The 'Survivor' contestant who broke her NDA by allowing herself to be featured in a photo with her castmate isn't out of the woods yet ... 'cause there's more evidence of wrongdoing.

TMZ has learned that Kara Kay had been filmed in multiple videos taken by fellow 'Survivor' contender Alec Merlino in the days leading up to their now-infamous photo ... as well as in clips after it went up. She's seen hamming it up for the camera in all of them.

The videos make it clear -- Kara knew she was being recorded by Alec for his Instagram stories ... despite their $5 mil NDAs saying they were strictly forbidden from associating on social media. The pair apparently had a  "F*** it" attitude ... just like the caption.

As we reported ... Alec is the only one punished for now. Producers are withholding his appearance fee of $10k and disinviting him to the finale taping. 

It looks like punishment for Kara is in the works. True, she wasn't the one who posted the photo, but sources close to the production tell us the various videos she shot are ample evidence she broke confidentiality.

Stay tuned ... 

Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Accused of Pulling a Trump ... Ex-Law Partner Sues

5/16/2018 5:35 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, is making a name for himself by going after President Trump, but now he's facing his own lawsuit ... and he's accused of doing something very Trumpian.

According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Avenatti's being sued by Jason Frank, a former partner at Egan Avenatti ... Michael's law firm, because he claims Avenatti stiffed him out of a couple mil.

Frank alleges Avenatti pulled a Trump in 2016 by refusing to hand over his firm's tax returns. Frank says he needed that data to figure out how much money he was owed under their deal when he left the company ... which he says is 25 percent of firm profits, plus a cut of client fees.

According to the docs, filed by attorney Eric George ... Frank and Avenatti's firm eventually duked it out in arbitration, and the firm settled with him for $4.85 million.

Problem is, according to Frank, when it came time to fork over the first $2 mil payment ... the firm stiffed him. Now he's suing to get Stormy's lawyer to pay up.

Avenatti tells us, "Jason Frank is trying to get attention for himself. His allegations are baseless and fraudulent."

'Survivor' Star Jonny Fairplay Here's How to Deal with NDA Breakers

5/16/2018 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

One of the best 'Survivor' contestants/lying scoundrels thinks producers should go easy on the 2 dimwits who broke their NDAs before airtime ... but says they still gotta pay. 

We spoke to Jonny Fairplay of season 7 fame and podcast host Survivor NSFW -- known for lying about his grandmother dying and getting 3rd place -- and he tells us Alec Merlino and Kara Kay shouldn't be taken to court for violating their $5 million confidentiality agreements. He's got an alternative.

Jonny says the duo should lose their prize money from the show -- which he predicts is more significant than just a 1st or 2nd round payout, based on an apparent alliance/romance they seem to have formed ... which must've taken at least a few rounds.

BTW ... Jonny tells us just how much money is on the line for these two if showrunners go with his suggestion. It ain't $5 mil ... but it would definitely hurt a bit.

'Survivor' Contestants Violate NDA $5 Million Fine on the Line

5/15/2018 12:40 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

'Survivor' contestants can apparently get through weeks of competition and mind games, but not a basic NDA agreement ... as two numbskulls just proved, and it could cost them dearly.

Sources connected to the reality show tell us a pair of contestants, who we're told are starring in the upcoming season, flagrantly broke their confidentiality agreements this week by posting a photo together ... when they were specifically asked not to just last week.

Filming for season 37 wrapped last Wednesday, and upon arriving back home ... sources say contestants were emailed a reminder not to spoil anything with social media activity -- like following each other and, obviously, posing together.

Turns out, a guy named Alec Merlino and girl named Kara Kay did just that Sunday, captioning their pic with a not-so-subtle "F*** it" -- which fueled rumors they're on the show. Welp, those rumors were true ... Alec and Kara are on the show, and hit it off in Fiji. 

We're told producers are now pissed at them for breaking protocol, and are now looking at possible legal action, withholding prize money ... or both. 

Production sources say the NDAs have a $5 million penalty, but good luck collecting. Still, the contestants could possibly be on the hook for enough to make it hurt.

'Star Trek' Star Nichelle Nichols Judge Grants Conservatorship After Dementia Claims

5/14/2018 4:16 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

'Star Trek' icon Nichelle Nichols will have a new team handling her financial affairs in response to her son's claims she's battling dementia ... TMZ has learned. 

According to court docs, an L.A. County judge signed off on Kyle Johnson's request to have 4 fiduciaries be his mom's conservators until mid-August, when there will be a court hearing. The hope is Nichelle will be able to attend that hearing.  

As we first reported ... Kyle says his mother, who famously played Lt. Uhura, suffers from severe short-term memory loss, and needs court-ordered protection to block people from taking advantage of her. 

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, the judge said Nichelle consents to the appointment of her conservators. The judge also noted Nichelle is currently out of state.

'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Reboot on the Horizon? Pshh, Just Ask the 'Fresh Princess'

2/27/2018 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Apologies to Will Smith ... the 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' might be getting dethroned soon, 'cause there's a potential new heir being eyed for a TV reboot -- and he's a she ... TMZ has learned.

The company that owns the rights to 'Fresh Prince' filed a few trademark applications seeking to lock down rights to "Fresh Princess" for a television program and virtually every other media platform.

They're also looking to trademark the "Fresh Princess" on a bunch of merch -- including bags, backpacks, animal collars and, of course, lots of clothing and footwear. 

As we reported ... the folks in control of 'FP' recently wanted trademarks for new 'Fresh Prince' toys, which fueled speculation a cartoon version of the hit '90s show was on the horizon ... especially since Will seemed to endorse an animated take on the Banks.

No word on whether Will would be involved with a female-focused reboot. 

Kanye West 'Red October' in February 2018 ... 'Memba These?

2/12/2018 12:50 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Kanye West might be an Adidas guy now, but that doesn't mean he's ready to let go of his Nike days ... he now wants to re-up his claim to the name of one his most famous kicks.

Kanye has applied for a trademark to snag exclusive rights to "Red October" -- the name of a shoe he released with Nike back in 2014. 

If approved, the trademark would allow 'Ye to use (and presumably license) his "Red October" mark for shirts, jerseys, bras, thongs, parkas, capes, body stockings, tankinis, baby bibs, swim caps, PJs, gloves and lots of other stuff as well. Oh ... and footwear too, of course.

According to the docs, obtained by TMZ, Kanye's OG 2013 trademark application for the name fell through since he didn't finish filing all the necessary paperwork. Makes sense he'd want this -- the shoes are still wildly popular, and retail for thousands.

Looks like he's back to button up the issue ... more than 4 years later ... in February. Attaboy, 'Ye.

Charles Manson 3 Finalists Vying for Body!!! Judge to Sort It Out

1/24/2018 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Charles Manson's still on ice, but the battle's heating up for his body -- and the 3 lucky finalists in line for the corpse all have some issues, which have now fallen in a judge's lap.

According to docs, obtained by TMZ and filed by the Kern County Coroner, 3 men are claiming Manson's bod. The first is Michael Channels, who submitted the first will from Manson -- but it's only partially legible. Plus, Channels is listed as a witness, which casts doubt on the will's validity.

Contestant #2 is Matthew Robert Lentz, who claims to be Manson's son and also filed a will, but his only has 1 witness -- at least 2 are required -- so it's incomplete. 

Last up ... Jason Freeman -- who says he's Manson's grandson -- filed legal docs to prove he's Charles Manson Jr.'s son ... seemingly making him the murderer's next of kin. The problem here is, before his death, Manson told prison officials he had no family.

In other words ... it's legal helter skelter. Good luck sorting it out, your honor!

2 Chainz on Walmart I Should Sue Over Dabbin' Santa!!!

1/2/2018 7:17 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

2 Chainz says he's still on the fence over taking Walmart to court for allegedly ripping off his Dabbin' Santa sweaters ... but sounds like he's leaning toward a phone call to his lawyers.

We got the rapper at LAX and asked if he was following through on his thinly-veiled threat to sue Walmart for selling sweaters that look almost identical to his OG concept from 2015.

He doesn't completely reveal his plans, dropping "we'll see" a few times -- and added his sweaters are all about charity. The insinuation is clear: What the hell is Walmart doing with the cash from theirs? 

Bottom line on the lawsuit -- 2 Chainz told us turnabout is fair play.

Michael Jackson Wade Robson's Molestation Lawsuit Tossed

12/20/2017 7:14 AM PST

Michael Jackson's estate and his companies are off the hook in the alleged child molestation lawsuit filed after the singer's death.

An L.A. County judge dismissed Wade Robson's 2013 suit on Tuesday ... saying he filed too late for the estate to be held liable -- and Robson's attempt to recast it as a lawsuit against Michael's companies was off the mark.

Robson had claimed MJ's companies facilitated the singer's pattern of child molestation and helped him lure victims. In the ruling, the judge said IF Jackson had molested Robson, his companies couldn't be held liable because they had no control over the singer ... essentially, MJ was the boss.

The judge did not rule on the merits of Robson's molestation claims.

What's more, the judge said Robson coming into contact with Jackson had nothing to do with his companies ... since it was Robson's own mom who reached out to MJ and asked him to help her son's career. 

Charles Manson Battle for His Body Pen Pal, Grandson Want It

11/29/2017 10:37 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Charles Manson's body is in limbo now that 2 people have come forward laying claim to the corpse ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us Jason Freeman -- who claims to be Manson's legit grandson -- has contacted the Kern County Sheriff to say he wants Manson's body. The other candidate is Michael Channels, who was Manson's longtime pen pal.

Channels has one thing in his favor ... Manson's will. TMZ broke the story, Manson left everything to Channels and we know he's already informed the Sheriff he's the executor -- and he's filed it in probate court.

Even though Freeman might be Manson's kin -- he claims he's taken a DNA test -- he'd still have to contest the will in court to get a shot at the body.

It's now been 10 days since Manson died, and if no one had made a claim the Sheriff's Department would have cremated his remains. We're told that's on hold until a ruling from the court.

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