(CN) – There is no basis to claim that the Red Sox “torpedo[ed]” a music video for “At Fenway” because the singer of the tribute tune demanded justice for his mother, a federal judge ruled.
Brian Evans aka The Croonerman is a big-band singer best known for his song “At Fenway,” a tribute to Boston’s Fenway Park on its 100th anniversary in 2012.
The song’s music video, which stars William Shatner as home-plate umpire, has garnered more than 11 million views on Youtube. Evans paid the Red Sox $40,000 for permission to film the video at the stadium.
Although Evans was not commissioned to write the song, Major League Baseball quickly licensed the song for game use, a first for the league.
Evans’ mother died shortly afterward, however, while in the hospital for allegedly routine knee surgery. Evans said Holy Family Hospital had given his mother morphine, but failed to put her on a breathing machine or a monitor for her sleep apnea, causing her to asphyxiate on her own vomit.
In an ensuing awareness campaign, the Croonerman asked every governor in the U.S. to issue a proclamation bringing attention to sleep apnea.
New England newspaper the Valley Patriot counted several celebrity supporters for Evans including Shatner, Tom Hanks, Roseanne Barr and David Ortiz.
In its June 2013 article reporting on five federal lawsuits Evans had just filed, the Patriot said Evans bought the Internet domain names of all the doctors who cared for his mother, redirecting visitors to a website for his mother.
His suit against the Red Sox, transferred to Massachusetts, claimed that the team “torpedo[ed] and destroy[ed]” his music video and the relationships he hoped to create, in retaliation for his efforts to seek “justice” for his mother.
Evans claimed that the Red Sox and Steward Health share the same public relations firm, Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications.
U.S. District Judge George O’Toole dismissed Evans’ complaint Tuesday, accepting the recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin.
“The complaint paints the picture of plaintiff’s dissatisfaction that the further discussions with the Red Sox never resulted in any sort of agreement to use or to promote plaintiff’s music video,” the 11-page opinion states. “In the absence of allegations setting forth even the existence of a contract, plaintiff fails to state a breach of contract claim against any defendant.”
While Evans appeared on the “Today” show, with Shatner, to promote the video, O’Toole noted that other television shows have criticized or failed to promote it.
“Neither the failure of the music video to obtain the commercial success for which plaintiff hoped nor the Red Sox’s failure to promote the video in the manner he wished are sufficient allegations to support a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress,” the decision states. “Insofar as Rasky or any other defendant expressed its own, negative opinion of plaintiff’s music video, this expression of relative artistic merits cannot constitute the ‘extreme and outrageous’ conduct necessary to support the claim.”
The Youtube description for “At Fenway” says: “In Honor of my mother, Helen Marie Bousquet. I love you, mom. You are all watching this because of her. It is now a part of her legacy as much as it is mine.”
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