ATLANTA (CN) – The 11th Circuit allowed contemporary Christian singer Carman Licciardello to sue former manager Rendy Lovelady in Florida for allegedly using the Grammy nominee’s fame to boost his online business, even though Lovelady lives in Tennessee.
Lucciardello, who goes by “Carman,” claimed that after he fired Lovelady in 2001, the former manager posted his name and picture on his Web site, implying Carman endorsed his skills as a personal manager. Lovelady allegedly used Carman’s celebrity to hawk CDs containing management advice and career pointers.
Carman sued in Florida, alleging trademark infringement. The district court dismissed his claim for lack of personal jurisdiction, reasoning that Lovelady had created the Web site in Tennessee, not Florida.
The singer maintained that the infringement had occurred in Florida, where he lives, because he holds the trademarks.
Judge Hill said Carman could satisfy the Florida long-arm statute if the alleged infringement “caused injury in Florida.”
The appeals court ruled that it did.
“The unauthorized use of Carman’s mark … individually targeted Carman in order to misappropriate his name and reputation for commercial gain,” Hill wrote. Florida courts have jurisdiction in this case, because Lovelady created the site in Tennessee “to cause injury to Carman in Florida.”
A veteran of the Christian entertainment industry, Carman has recorded 15 gold and platinum albums and videos, and has sold more than 10 million records. Billboard Magazine named him “Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year” in 1990.