LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In a great year for entertaining lawsuits, perhaps the most intriguing is still Lindsay Lohan’s case against E-Trade for airing a commercial that featured a “milkaholic” baby named Lindsay.
In defending the merits of the suit, Lohan’s lawyer Stephanie Ovadia asserted that the actress deserved single-name status like Oprah or Madonna. Does she? The fate of Lohan’s lawsuit may depend on the answer.
Lohan’s lawyer has filed new papers in New York Supreme Court in an effort to survive E-Trade’s motion to dismiss.
E-Trade argues that there are some 250,000 women in United States named “Lindsay,” including celebrities like Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, tennis player Lindsay Davenport and actresses Lindsay Wagner and Lindsay Price. E-Trade also says that unlike Oprah, Madonna, Cher and Beyonce, Lohan doesn’t have a federally registered trademark on her first name.
In an amusing 27-page court brief, Lohan’s lawyer now attempts to justify why Lohan should get special treatment compared to the 250,000 other Lindsays.
“As they say, ‘What’s in the name?’ It is in the totality of circumstances that a particular name or person acquires popularity or notoriety. It is in totality of circumstances that a name or person becomes a distinguished name. Some names such as Bill, Hillary, Bush, Tiger, Paris, Johnny, Allen, are very common names. There may be millions, if not billions, of people with these names in the world. Some words may not necessarily be just the names for human beings but may convey other meanings also. For example, ‘Tiger’ is an animal and is associated with a jungle or zoo in a particular context. However, when used in the context of (the) Golf game world, it conveys totally different message.”
But that doesn’t explain why Lindsay is to celebrity milkaholism as Tiger is to golf.
Alas, Lohan’s brief tries to put it all together.
“The issue, in case at bar, is not how many people in the USA are with the name ‘Lindsay’ or ‘Lindsey’. The issue is how many celebrities are with this name ‘Lindsay’ in the USA, and then in the context, manner, characterization, persona ... If Defendants take this name, ‘Lindsay’ in context of a celebrity name then by Defendants’ own admission, there are only a few limited celebrities with this name around, and this number may not be more than four or five.”
The brief then goes into a “process of elimination” among Lindsay Lohan, Lindsey Vonn, Lindsay Davenport and the two other Lindsay actresses: “The type of a particular role and persona, the role of an alcoholic bimbus woman, that Defendants were looking for in their said commercial, none of the other celebrity ”Lindsay“ as referred by Defendants ... fits into.”
Essentially, she says that none of the other famous Lindsays are considered alcoholic bimbuses (bimbi?) like her client is. As proof, the brief cites tabloid headlines like RadarOnline’s “Whoops! Kate Hudson Almost Does A ‘Lindsay’”
So does Lohan’s right of publicity protect her potentially iconic alcoholic bimbodom? We’ll have to wait for an answer. In the meantime, this brief serves as perhaps the strangest backhanded compliment ever bestowed upon a celebrity client by her lawyer.