Judge Tosses T. Swift Lawsuit, Has Too Much Fun Writing Opinion

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on November 16, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Federal Judge Gail Standish recently dismissed a $42 million lawsuit against mega-pop star Taylor Swift in which plaintiff Jesse Braham alleged that Swift ripped off his lyrics.

Just any old dismissal wouldn't fit the occasion, however. The judge decided to have some fun and wrote, "[a]t present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court," but that Braham had "bullet holes" in his case. "At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit." Ouch?

Musical Musings

Braham sued Swift to the tune of $42 million claiming that "92 percent of the lyrics" in Swift's "Shake It Off" come from his song "Haters Gone Hate." As is characteristic of pop music, the lyrics tend to...ahem, repeat themselves a bit. Observe.

Swift's lyrics: "Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play. And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.' And it continues ... 'And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake."

Braham's lyrics? "Haters gone hate, playas gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they'll fake you every day."

It sounds much better than it reads, of course.

See the resemblance? Well, the Court didn't, and it ruled that Braham failed to even show "plausibl[e] objective similarity between the two works." Ouch again!

It's Not a Fight, It's an Execution!

Braham, who brought the complaint pro se, did not impress Judge Standish who noted blank pages, errors in grammar and misspellings. Human frailties to be sure, but when the judge states that the work is "clearly...not produced by a professional," that's really got to smart.

Easter Egg

Judge Standish must have been listening to Swift's "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "Bad Blood," and "Blank Space" while writing the opinion because one can almost read the beats lifting off of the page. We hope more suits will find their way to Judge Standish's court simply to see what other entertaining reading will come next.

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