• 201-896-4100 info@sh-law.com
  • Anthony R. Caruso is an accomplished business attorney and Sports Agent certified by the NFL Players Association. He has a broad range of significant experience in the negotiation and drafting of all types of legal transactions including business, sports and entertainment contracts, intellectual property matters, technology, licensing and franchising deals, and land development.

    Biography

    Anthony R. Caruso is an accomplished business attorney and Sports Agent certified by the NFL Players Association. He has a broad range of significant experience in the negotiation and drafting of all types of legal transactions including business, sports and entertainment contracts, intellectual property matters, technology, licensing and franchising deals, and land development. A sampling of his notable projects includes establishing a revolutionary technology services company, representing pro sports leagues, negotiation various music, film and television projects, structuring multi-year licensing and sponsorship agreements, negotiating franchise and leasing agreements, and supervising private capital transactions for the acquisition or establishment of various ventures.

    A noted entertainment lawyer, Mr. Caruso has advised and counseled producers, artists, and performers, from up and coming hopefuls to established acts and artists.  Over the years, he has drafted all types of contracts for producers and film production companies, musical acts and record companies, songwriters, actors, and authors.  He also counsels clients in connection with disputes in areas that include contracts, copyright, licensing, trademark, false advertising, unfair competition, First Amendment, defamation and internal investigations.

    As a sports attorney, Mr. Caruso represents coaches, athletes and sports marketers, sports leagues and investment groups involved in both sports and entertainment. He is the former owner of a professional minor league basketball team, a founding member and counsel to a pro sports league, and represented celebrity athletes in endorsement deals and related business planning.

    Mr. Caruso gained international attention when he represented Amy Polumbo, Miss New Jersey 2007, in connection with a blackmail situation over Internet photos. He provided all legal counseling and participated in negotiations, strategy, media supervision, and "crisis management" as he appeared in many major print and media outlets including People Magazine and NBC’s Today Show. Over the years, he has also appeared on Fox, MSNBC, E! Entertainment and many of the NYC based television productions such as PIX 11. He is frequently called upon by various syndicated television, news and print media outlets for his advice and commentary on current legal issues.

    Mr. Caruso previously served as counsel to former New Jersey Governor James Florio. He was also a founding executive of an internet-based real estate services company that revolutionized the way properties were sold utilizing the technology of the internet. Also, he has served on the boards of various charitable organizations and banking institutions and has published in various areas of the law.

    Education

    • Seton Hall University School of Law (JD 1985)
    • Rutgers University (BS 1982)

    Bar Admissions

    • New Jersey
    • United States Tax Court
    • United States Supreme Court

    Affiliations

    • Adjunct Faculty, New York University
    • NFLPA Certified Agent (NFL Player Agent)
    • Advisory Board – Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company
    • Adjunct Faculty Belmont University
    • Advisory Board Capital One Bank
    • Member Monmouth University Real Estate Institute
    TV Appearances

    Education

    • Seton Hall University School of Law (JD 1985)
    • Rutgers University (BS 1982)

    Bar Admissions

    • New Jersey
    • United States Tax Court
    • United States Supreme Court

    Affiliations

    • Adjunct Faculty, New York University
    • NFLPA Certified Agent (NFL Player Agent)
    • Advisory Board – Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company
    • Adjunct Faculty Belmont University
    • Advisory Board Capital One Bank
    • Member Monmouth University Real Estate Institute
    Radio & Print Media

    Education

    • Seton Hall University School of Law (JD 1985)
    • Rutgers University (BS 1982)

    Bar Admissions

    • New Jersey
    • United States Tax Court
    • United States Supreme Court

    Affiliations

    • Adjunct Faculty, New York University
    • NFLPA Certified Agent (NFL Player Agent)
    • Advisory Board – Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company
    • Adjunct Faculty Belmont University
    • Advisory Board Capital One Bank
    • Member Monmouth University Real Estate Institute
    Publications
    TitlePublisherDate
    Collegiate Collisions on the Field and in the Courtroom: Will Labor Peace Save Student-Athletes from Further Injury?Journal of Business and Technology Law of the University of Maryland School of LawFebruary 17, 2015
    The Donald Sterling DilemmaUS Daily ReviewMay 22, 2014
    Inside the Minds: Entertainment and Media Law Contract StrategiesNovember 1, 2007
    Recruiting Case Takes Center StageJune 1, 2007
    The New NBA Wardrobe: Less Bling is an Enforceable ThingCommentaryJanuary 30, 2006
    How to Succeed in Local RedevelopmentJune 26, 1995

    Education

    • Seton Hall University School of Law (JD 1985)
    • Rutgers University (BS 1982)

    Bar Admissions

    • New Jersey
    • United States Tax Court
    • United States Supreme Court

    Affiliations

    • Adjunct Faculty, New York University
    • NFLPA Certified Agent (NFL Player Agent)
    • Advisory Board – Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company
    • Adjunct Faculty Belmont University
    • Advisory Board Capital One Bank
    • Member Monmouth University Real Estate Institute
    Blogs

    Entertainment Law: What Makes a Public Figure?

    Posted on Wednesday April 13, 2016

    What Makes a Public Figure?

    When it comes to defamation, the distinction between public figures and lesser-known individuals is very important, but what makes a public figure?

    There's a good chance most people who work in sports or entertainment are public figures, however, there is no guarantee they are considered as such. This is something that Jerry Heller, the former manager of seminal hip-hop group N.W.A., is attempting to argue. People may know who he is, and he may be connected to such definite public figures as Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, but does that make Heller a public figure himself? He doesn't think so, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and for him that distinction is very important right now. Heller is currently in the midst of a defamation lawsuit against NBCUniversal, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and other defendants, something he alluded to in an interview with White Label Radio.

    Heller has been arguing that he is not a public figure, a very important point in any defamation lawsuit. This is because the standards for proving defamation are different for public figures than they are for other people. For most people a defamation lawsuit hinges on negligence, while for public figures the burden is higher - actual malice. What exactly is it that makes someone a public figure?

    Public figure status is unclear, but there are some hints 

    One thing we know for sure is who is and is not considered a public figure, but there's a gray area as far as when someone achieves this status. However, as far as why the burden of proof on them is higher, though, is a bit more apparent. Gertz v. Welch established two reasons why public figures must prove actual malice.

    The first is an individual's access to the media. Public figures, the court argued, have significantly more access to mainstream communication channels than private figures do. This sort of access makes it easier for public figures to rebut potentially defamatory statements made against them. In addition, the court noted that public figures have assumed an increased risk of injury by placing themselves in the spotlight. It can be assumed, then, that public figures are individuals with access to the media who have some sort of space in the spotlight.

    Different types of public figures

    The court also outlined three different types of public figures. They are as follows:

    • General public figures: These individuals have voluntarily placed themselves in the public view.
    • Limited-purpose public figures: This sort of public figure is someone who has thrust him or herself into the spotlight for a specific reason, such as addressing a controversy. A good example may be Kim Davis, the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky who refused to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples.
    • Involuntary public figures: It is not as clear who exactly, these individuals may be, but suffice to say they're rarely the focal point of defamation cases. These individuals did not voluntarily assume the risk of injury that comes with being in the spotlight, but are in public view for one reason or another.

    The case-by-case nature of public figures 

    Public figure status is usually determined on a case-by-case basis. There is a concern about placing too many people in the public figure category, and making it too easy for defendants to shut down defamation lawsuits. Local notoriety, for instance, does not necessarily mean someone is a public figure. The spotlight should shine on something closer to a national basis. A semi-professional football player, for instance, may not be considered a public figure though he may be known to many people within the region his team represents. However, someone who plays football in the NFL is most likely a public figure, due to his national prominence.

    If you're unsure about whether or not you're a public figure, speak with an entertainment law attorney for more information.

    Otherwise, for more articles dealing with entertainment law, check out:

    The post Entertainment Law: What Makes a Public Figure? appeared first on .

    Reality TV Doesn’t Always Pay Well

    Posted on Monday April 11, 2016

    Reality TV Doesn't Always Pay Well

    All reality television stars are not created equal.

    Some reality TV cast members are hauling in millions through their contracts, while others aren't making much at all. The cast of the iconic MTV reality TV show, "The Real World," for example, did not make much per week. However, their rent was paid. The cast of "Vanderpump Rules," meanwhile, collected a mere $5,000 for the entire first season of the show, Reality Tea reported. Despite the fact that these reality TV stars didn't make much money per episode, they weren't exactly stuck in dead-end jobs either.

    The Trade-off

    What reality TV might not pay per episode it makes up for in plenty through publicity. Cast members on a reality TV show who only make a few hundred dollars per episode can leverage their publicity to get an endorsement deal worth many times that.

    If shows are breakout hits, of course, stars may be able to negotiate better-paying contracts, but that depends on the sort of show. While the stars of "Vanderpump Rules" eventually were able to increase their pay grade, their television show was based on their lives. They were in a position to negotiate. "The Real World" lives on with new casts. For this reason, MTV can keep salaries relatively low.

    Endorsement deals

    In cases where the television show isn't dependent on a single personality to continue, it would be wise for cast members to explore endorsement deals. All sorts of reality TV celebrities have endorsement deals, including the Kardashian clan. Khloe Kardashian recently began working with Kybella, which offers a non-surgical procedure to remove double-chins, according to plastic surgeon Glenn Vallecillos.

    These agreements are the source of revenue for reality TV stars who don't make much per episode. The publicity, in many cases, can be as good as money, because it can easily lead to large contracts to endorse products or appear at events.

    For more on what your reality TV contract should look like, and how you can leverage your publicity for an endorsement deal, talk to an experienced entertainment law attorney.

    Otherwise, for more articles dealing with reality tv, check out:

    The post Reality TV Doesn’t Always Pay Well appeared first on .

    Are Networks and Producers Liable When Reality TV Gets Dangerous?

    Posted on Monday April 04, 2016

    Are networks and producers liable when reality TV takes a wrong turn?

    If there's one thing audiences have seen repeatedly on reality television shows, it is people getting hurt.

    Programs such as "Naked and Afraid" and "Deadliest Catch" depict people in dangerous and even life-threatening situations. Other times, bystanders are caught up in the action in ways they would prefer not to be. Depending on the various situations that reality TV stars and the people who cross their paths find themselves in, there may be different legal solutions or expectations. For example, some reality TV shows may feature people breaking the law, such as an episode of "Intervention" in which Pam, an alcoholic featured on the show, decided to drive drunk.

    When Pam got into her car and drove off, the TV crew members did little to stop her, and however one may look at that decision ethically, legally it was completely within their rights to let her drive away drunk, The New York Times reported. In these situations, the staff members on the scene are treated like witnesses. In the U.S., there is no law requiring witnesses to get involved in a crime, such as drunk driving. Since producers aren't legally required to stop crimes in progress or save people from dangerous situations, it is difficult to hold them legally responsible for the behavior of reality TV stars.

    A&E, the television network behind "Intervention," told the media outlet that the show has never been sued. This, despite the fact that it often features people in dangerous situations, is due to its focus on drug and alcohol use. The show's producers do take steps to avoid being accused of negligence, however, such as keeping a family member on call and having potential subjects undergo evaluations.

    When bystanders become part of the action

    Other times, reality TV stars don't just put themselves in danger, though. The producers of the MTV television show "Jersey Shore" have been sued more than once after cast members were involved in fights. One lawsuit was dropped after the defendant, Sammi Giancola, left the jurisdiction - Florida. Giancola, or "Sammi Sweetheart," was accused of punching a woman. In another case, a Superior Court judge from Toms River allowed RICO and assault charges to stand against MTV, the show's producers and the crew.

    While producers aren't required to step in when a crime is being committed, they can certainly be pulled into a lawsuit when someone not involved with the television show ends up getting hurt. The "Jersey Shore" cast's many run-ins with the law can attest to the possibility that bystanders file lawsuits against reality TV stars, producers and networks. If nothing else, these cases can result in bad publicity. At the time the "Jersey Shore" was on the air, MTV was subjected to numerous attacks by groups opposed to show's content.

    "Liability depends on whether reality TV stars are employees."

    Employees or independent contractors?

    Other times, cast members themselves are hurt or placed in dangerous situations. In these cases, where it isn't the individuals themselves who create the dangerous circumstance - such as Pam drunk driving - legal responsibility comes down to whether reality TV stars are employees or independent contractors, according to the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law. If cast members are deemed to be employees, they are legally entitled to workers compensation should they get hurt on the job. Additionally, some state labor laws may allow further protections. 

    While there are multiple factors used to determine whether or not someone is an employee, the degree of control the employer holds over the individual is important in regards to reality TV. Some television shows, such as "Survivor," require plenty of control over participants. While others, that follow cast members more than ask them to perform stunts or compete, have less control, which could make regularly appearing personalities independent contractors. 

    Whatever the situation, reality TV stars frequently find themselves in potentially dangerous situations whether they are stranded on desert islands or drinking in a New Jersey club.

    For more information on whether the network or producer may be held liable for an injury in a specific situation, speak with an experienced entertainment law attorney.

    Otherwise, for related articles dealing with reality TV, check out:

    The post Are Networks and Producers Liable When Reality TV Gets Dangerous? appeared first on .

    Self-Representation Could be a Setback in NFL Free Agency

    Posted on Friday April 01, 2016

    Could self-representation be a setback in NFL free agency?

    Free agency can be an exciting time for football players, but it can also be tough to navigate, especially as the window inches toward a close. This is why the help of an agent is often necessary.

    Former Seattle Seahawk, Russell Okung, is hunting down a team in need of an offensive tackle, and he's doing so on his own. While this isn't unheard of, it's not common either, and some have pegged it as the reason the Super Bowl XLVIII champion is still looking for a suitable deal.

    Mike Florio, of NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk, for instance, suggested that the offensive tackle's decision to self-represent may have, thus far, had an adverse impact on his ability to nail down a deal. Additionally, as Joel Corry, a former NFL agent and current football writer pointed out, Okung's decision to represent himself prevented him from participating in the legal tampering window, potentially putting him behind other free agents.

    The setbacks of self-representation

    The legal tampering window is the period during which NFL players' agents can begin working out deals with teams. During the three-day period they cannot officially sign any documents, but they can hammer out the details of deals to come after the official start of free agency. Unlike many other free agents this year, Okung was not able to finalize a deal with a team during this window, and has since watched as various organizations snatch up offensive line players like Donald Penn and Kelechi Osemele.

    Besides being setback by his inability to negotiate during the legal tampering window, Okung may also hurt himself by not hiring someone with better negotiating skills. That's not necessarily a knock on his ability to negotiate, but rather an acknowledgement of the longstanding tradition of negotiation that agents represent in sports. Okung, unlike many available agents, has not endured negotiation processes year after year. As prepared as he may be, the simple fact is he still might not be as prepared as an agent.

    "It poses a challenge for him to do a nice job with this process," Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seahawks, told The Seattle Times.

    Okung's choice may be backfiring

    For Okung, the decision to represent himself was quite a public affair. He made the announcement on Facebook, and while stressing that he has nothing against agencies, explained that "days of the oblivious athlete are over." Unfortunately, the issue may not be whether or not athletes are oblivious. The problem may simply come down to experience. Okung has gone through the first week of free agency without the kind of offer he expected. Whether he gets one that is good for him in the short and long term remains to be seen. However, for now there are many eyes on the offensive tackle's foray into self representation.

    If you're trying to decide between representing yourself or are considering seeking representation from an experienced NFL agent, don't hesitate to contact one today. These individuals are well-versed in sports law and contract negotiation, and could prove to be a better option.

    Otherwise, for related articles having to do with free agency, check out:

    The post Self-Representation Could be a Setback in NFL Free Agency appeared first on .

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    Education

    • Seton Hall University School of Law (JD 1985)
    • Rutgers University (BS 1982)

    Bar Admissions

    • New Jersey
    • United States Tax Court
    • United States Supreme Court

    Affiliations

    • Adjunct Faculty, New York University
    • NFLPA Certified Agent (NFL Player Agent)
    • Advisory Board – Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company
    • Adjunct Faculty Belmont University
    • Advisory Board Capital One Bank
    • Member Monmouth University Real Estate Institute
    '