Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. PMN II, LLC et al. (18-cv-30150).

  • September 13, 2018

Mass. Mutual sued Chuck Yeager, his wife, PMN II and III (partnerships involving the Yeagers 2013 the name allegedly stands for 201cProtect My Name 201d), and a corporation and foundation owned and run by the Yeagers, seeking a declaration that Mass. Mutual has not violated Yeager 2019s rights of publicity, rights of privacy, trademark rights in the Chuck Yeager mark, and a determination of which defendant owns the rights in Yeager 2019s name. According to the complaint, Victoria Yeager has demanded that Mass. Mutual make payment for alleged violations of Yeager 2019s right of publicity. Her claim is based on an article written by a Mass. Mutual employee and published by BenefitsPRO, a trade journal, that made one use of Yeager 2019s name in an analogy likening the breakthrough of increased sales of group life insurance to the breaking of the sound barrier. After Victoria Yeager complained, Yeager 2019s name was removed from the article; Mrs. Yeager, who is Chuck Yeager 2019s legal guardian following his being deemed incompetent, persisted in demanding payment. Mass. Mutual asserts that Victoria Yeager was deemed to be a vexatious litigant by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California for repeated frivolous right of publicity filings. Specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants is alleged to exist through the defendants 2019 repeated contacts with Mass. Mutual in connection with Yeager 2019s publicity rights as well as through the defendants 2019 operation of a 201chighly interactive 201d website,, that is available in Massachusetts and through a gofundme page alleged to have been set up by the defendants to create a Chuck Yeager documentary.

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