The Entertainment Litigation Blog is published by Melvin N.A. Avanzado, an entertainment litigator and civil trial lawyer in Los Angeles. Mel is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 20 years experience. Mel’s practice includes extensive experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex disputes, including the representation of motion picture studios, television networks, media companies, and significant individuals in the entertainment and sports industries.
Mel is the principal of The Avanzado Law Firm. He is often quoted by national and industry publications such as New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Mel has been based in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, for his entire law career. Mel began his career at Latham & Watkins and later joined the firm then known as Christensen, White, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser & Shapiro LLP. In 1996, Mel co-founded the entertainment litigation boutique firm, White O’Connor Curry & Avanzado LLP. Mel became a partner in the Entertainment Practice Group of the law firm, Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP in 2005, where he remained until he opened his new firm in July 2008.
Mel brings a unique perspective to entertainment litigation from his diverse experience in representing “talent” as well as studios and networks. Mel also brings to the table his substantial experience in complex business and sports disputes and his ability to bring any dispute to trial. The following is a representative sample of Mel’s entertainment and other cases:
- Mel represents Landmark Event Staffing Services and its partners in litigation against their former company, Contemporary Services Corporation.
- Mel represents the Filipino-American newspaper, Asian Journal, in its litigation against another newspaper in that community.
- Mel represents a multi-national corporation which operates yoga and health centers regarding media issues.
- Mel defended StarzLife.com in litigation in an action filed by a prominent screenwriter who asserted claims of copyright infringement and invasion of privacy.
- Mel represents Bennett Productions and C. Casey Bennett, producers of the high definition television series, Bikini Destinations, against claims by Mr. Bennett’s former girlfriend that she owns copyrights and trademarks related to the program.
- Mel represented the principal of a baseball player management firm, West Coast Sports Management, against a former agent in litigation over that agent’s departure from the agency.
- Mel represented an investor in a motion picture over her claims that the producers of the movie breached various duties to her and other investors.
- Mel represented the Academy Award winning producer of "Crash" in litigation over a failed production partnership and the profits from, among other things, that Oscar winning motion picture.
- Mel defended Evolution Entertainment, the producers of the motion picture Saw and its sequels, against claims asserted by actor, Cary Elwes, over his compensation to the original in the franchise.
- Mel defended CBS and "reality television" producer, Mark Burnett, against claims made by participants in the series, Survivor.
- Mel defended Viacom and its division, MTV Networks, in a lawsuit filed by a woman over a VH-1 news special concerning the phenomenon relating to the “Girls Gone Wild” videos and how those videos are created.
- Mel represented an individual in his claims against John Kluge, Stuart Subotnick and their company, Metromedia International Group, Inc., over the sale of Orion Pictures and other assets to MGM, obtaining jury verdicts totaling millions of dollars before settling on the eve of the punitive damages phase of the trial.
- Mel represented television executive, Eric Tannenbaum, producer of “Two And A Half Men” among other hit television shows, in his employment dispute with a former employer.
- Mel represented Laurence Fishburne in his action against the production company which produced the motion picture, Die Hard With A Vengeance, over a dispute as to whether Mr. Fishburne had an enforceable contract to play the "sidekick" role opposite Bruce Willis in that picture.
- Mel defended Paramount Pictures Corporation, which produced the long-running television series, Frasier, against claims that the plaintiff created various elements of the series and wrote several episodes, obtaining a dismissal of that action in its entirety.
- Mel defended CBS and Fox in an action filed by actor Robert Conrad alleging right of publicity and breach of contract claims arising from the use of his likeness on video and DVDs for the 1960s television series, Wild, Wild West, obtaining a complete dismissal of that action in its entirety.
- Mel defended former heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes in a lawsuit, and trial, brought by boxing promoters.
Mel received his law degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1988 and his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984.