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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You Got Served: Case Tailor-Made For Dance-Off Instead Lands In S.F. District Court

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 5:30 AM

click to enlarge Hammer will arbitrate dance-offs for you -- though it's extra if you want him to wear the parachute pants
  • Hammer will arbitrate dance-offs for you -- though it's extra if you want him to wear the parachute pants
We sift through a fair amount of legal papers here. Most do not strike us as potential candidates for binding arbitration via dance. San Francisco Unified's suit alleging Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to use the district as a catch-all for unwanted city workers? Nope. The 9th Circuit Court's decision that gun shows and Scottish festivals aren't the same thing? Tempting -- but no. A dancer's suit in San Francisco District Court against MTV and a bevy of other defendants claiming his dance crew's name and distinctive varsity jackets were ripped off? Oh God, yes! Get Hammer to be the judge in binding arbitration. Call him now; he's available -- we guarantee it.

Last week, Kevin Barairo filed suit in San Francisco, likely marking the first time in legal history the following clause appeared in a lawsuit: "Plaintiff ... known in the dance world as 'Mikey Disko' ..."

Barairo/Disco claims to have founded a dance team called "Soul Sector" back in 1998 -- a name he says he's trademarked. Among other identifying factors, Barairo claims to have developed a distinctive Letterman-style jacket for his crew, with the unfortunate letter combination "SS" arranged on the breast (sadly, Heinrich Himmler beat Barairo to the punch here decades ago).

Last year, however, Barairo claims that one of his former Soul Sector dancers, Christopher Jennings, managed to borrow Soul Sector's jackets, formed his own dance squad, and then appeared on the television show America's Best Dance Crew -- where he boasted about Soul Sector's "rivalry" with a dance group called the "Jabawockeez" who had developed a following on the show in 2007.

Knowing good television when they saw it, the suit alleges the show's producers attempted to pressure Barairo to sign over his rights to the name and appearance of his dance crew. When he would not sign, Barairo claims the show responded by having the doppelganger Soul Sector dancers appear in their distinctive jackets -- but alter the backs to read solely "Sector." Shortly thereafter, a clothing company also named in the suit is alleged to have initiated production of unlicensed "Soul Sector" merchandise.

In any event, you can see where this is going. But why spend 16 pages of lawyerly writing (read it here) expressing what a dance-off could accomplish with so much more aesthetic appeal?

And, seriously, Hammer could use the gig.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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