The former Mag 7 captain will act as “paralegal” in Moceanu’s defense effort
Figurehead attorney Shannon Miller says Amy Chow “will regret she ever filed this lawsuit”
TEMPE, ARIZ. – Amanda Borden, a gold-medal-winning gymnast from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, has announced she will join former teammate Shannon Miller in helping defend their former teammate Dominique Moceanu against charges of defamation of character brought by all three of those girls’ former teammate Amy Chow.
Chow, 33, filed the lawsuit March 26 in San Jose District Court after Moceanu, 30, accused Chow of sexually seducing her in an arena shower stall in 1997.
Borden, 34, has no paralegal experience, but on Friday she said in an interview at her home in Tempe, Ariz., that she will be able to handle the research tasks Miller will assign to her.
“Our objective with Team Moceanu is going to be simple,” Borden said. “From what I can tell in talking with Shannon so far is, Amy – or those two screwball lawyers of hers [Ukraine-based attorneys and former gymnasts Lilia Podkopayeva and Elena Piskun] – will have to prove that she didn’t do what Dom said she did. This is Amy’s lawsuit, so the burden of proof is on her. And there’s no way she can prove that it didn’t happen.”
Borden said Miller, who graduated from law school in 2007 but never took a bar exam to gain her license, has always been highly intelligent and will be an outstanding representative of Moceanu in court.
“Shannon is driven and determined – she’s already up there in Cleveland getting things in order” Borden said. “You know, they made me the team captain [at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996], but it should have been Shannon. She’s smart, courageous and basically stable. At least she is these days. I think.”
Borden added, “Dominique is very upset by all of this. Amy wanting to sue her over that stupid doll, and now Amy withdrawing that lawsuit and filing another one as if what happened in that shower never happened. Hello? Earth to Amy. God, no wonder she hired a couple of lesbians to represent her. Hope they can all make it to court on time each day.”
Reached by phone in Cleveland, where she is staying in a hotel with her husband and young son, Miller said she trusts Borden like a sister.
“Amanda and I and Jaycie [Phelps, another member of the Magnificent Seven] were always very close,” Miller said. “But I always clicked with Amanda the best. I know she’s going to contribute great things to our defense. When it’s all over, Amy will regret she ever filed this lawsuit.”
The trouble between Chow and Moceanu started when Chow charged Moceanu with unethical business practices for using with her own name in 2004 a bobblehead doll that had been originally designed for Chow. Chow backed out of the bobblehead project, and Moceanu said she never knew the doll was made for Chow when she agreed to put her name on it.
Moceanu on March 17 told a Cleveland magazine that Amy seduced her in 2007, in a shower room while Chow, Moceanu and some of their Olympic teammates and opponents were on an exhibition tour.
Nine days after the interview, Chow filed her character defamation lawsuit against Moceanu. A trial date has not been set nor has a judge been appointed.
In case anybody’s actually following this . . .
Here are some legal guidelines that will help you as we trudge through the muck of this insanity
I’ve been taking a little break over the last week so I don’t get too intense about my writing and whatever else I put on this website. But I have NOT ignored all the crap going on between Amy Chow and Dominique Moceanu. Here are some things you might want to know.
As you have already read, Amy Chow has filed a new lawsuit against Moceanu’s dumb ass for defamation of character. Defamation of character can mean two things: defamation by the spoken word, and defamation by the written word.
When there is defamation by the spoken word, such as in a live filmed interview or a speech, the defamation is referred to as slander. When the defamation is by the written word, it’s called libel.
Here are two videos that will help explain it better than I can, since I’m just a drunk, not an attorney.
Lilia Podkopayeva and Elena Piskun, the attorneys representing Amy Chow and the attorneys who formally filed the defamation of character lawsuit against Moceanu on March 26, have brought two charges against the fat woman from Cleveland: slander and libel.
The judge may throw out one of the charges, because the entire suit stems from a March 17 interview Moceanu gave to OK Cleveland! Magazine, in which she was quoted as alleging that Chow in 1997 coerced her (Moceanu) into lesbian sex in an arena locker room.
One of the charges could be dropped because the judge may not differentiate between Moceanu speaking the words to the interviewer and the publication publishing the words in printed form. However, the possibility remains that the judge will consider both charges – Moceanu did speak the words, which theoretically is slander; and she also authorized her words to be printed, which, theoretically, is libel.
It’s anybody’s guess how this case will turn out, but one thing is certain: Moceanu has Shannon Miller on her side to represent her, and Chow has on her side the Law Offices of Podkopayeva & Piskun – two attorneys who have about as much familiarity with the English language as Moceanu herself. Which means we could be in for a wild ride.
I’ll get back to “normal” stuff pretty soon Thank you all for your great comments and e-mails.
This one: “Defamation of character, slander and libel”
Chow’s attorneys say “is gonna be open and shut [case], just like quick-thinking lez in back alley.”
SAN JOSE, CA. – As a competitive gymnast, Amy Chow was often called “the trickster,” because her skills, primarily on uneven bars, were tricky and loaded with difficulty. “Trickster” is a name that might be apt for her still today when on Monday morning she and her attorneys were in district court in San Jose, where they filed a character defamation lawsuit against Dominique Moceanu.
Two weeks ago, Chow filed a civil lawsuit against Moceanu, contending several issues surrounding the Dominique Moceanu Bobblehead Doll. Chow dropped that lawsuit last week, shortly after an interview with Moceanu was published in a Cleveland magazine. That interview included quotes of Moceanu saying, among other things:
“She’s [Amy Chow is] a bitch and a predator.” Then, describing a time when the two were in the shower together in an arena locker room, Moceanu said, “She [Chow] goes, and I remember her exact words, she goes, ‘I’ve never had anything inside of me.’”
In the interview, published in OK Cleveland! Magazine, Moceanu also said, “And then she [Chow] pushed on me, you know, kind of to get me to move back against the wall, and when I got my back against the wall, and the shower spray’s going all over us, and she bent down a little, cause she’s a lot taller, and she bends down and kisses my cheek, and as soon as she does that, her hand goes between my legs.”
Chow would not talk to reporters Monday morning outside district court, but her attorneys, Lilia Podkopayeva and Elena Piskun, representing the Ukrainian Law Offices of Podkopayeva & Piskun and both former gymnasts, had plenty to say.
“Never did like Moceanu, anyway,” Piskun said as some 50 reporters and photographers crowded in on her and her partner. “She always had big mouth, always talk about her self to excluding every body else. Now she say one too many thing and now is time to pay the fiddler, or however that saying go.”
Podkopayeva, 33, added, “This is gonna be easy case to win, so make sure you all get here each day in court, cause is not gonna last long. Is gonna be open and shut, like quick-thinking lez in back alley.”
Asked what she meant by the “quick-thinking lez” analogy, Podkopayeva said, “Guess you gotta be a lez to grasp it.”
Piskun, who is also 33 and competed in many of the same international competitions as Chow and Moceanu, said the lawsuit centers on Moceanu’s allegation in her March 16 interview that Chow in 1997 seduced Moceanu in an arena shower room and lured her into having lesbian sex.
“Okay, I might not know that much, but I know a dyke when I see one of them,” Piskun said. “Amy Chow ain’t no dyke. She wasn’t no dyke in the John Hancock tour [in 1997, when the alleged lesbian incident occurred], and she ain’t no dyke now. She got her a husband who’s as Oriental as her. And Orientals can’t be no dyke, unless it’s porn. Moceanu – she very good chance could be a dyke.”
A reporter reminded Piskun that Moceanu was also married. Piskun said, “If anybody’s a dyke, Moceanu is the one. Look at this little гомосексуальный [homosexual] she marry. Ah-ha! I know a faggot when I see one!”
Before an aggressive Piskun could get too out of hand, Podkopayeva pulled her aside, whispered in her ear, and moved herself in front of the bank of microphones. “Point is, my client Amy Chow’s entire career can be in . . . what’s that word? . . . in jeopardy now thanks to Moceanu’s mouth. We will seek damages of $300,000.”
A reporter asked Podkopayeva if she thought it was possible to be awarded anywhere near that amount, and Podkopayeva said, “Hey – we get three hundred million rubles in Ukraine for dyke who got turned down on a job just cause she’s a lez. Yeah, we can get $300,000 American dollars for Amy. Sweet little Amy.”
A trial date has not been set, but Chow’s attorneys expect it will be by mid-April. Attys. Podkopayeva and Piskun are scheduled to be interviewed Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. on San Jose NewsWatch 5. Piskun said Chow would not be attending the interview and would grant no interviews until the case is resolved.
Chow says “There’s no point in going on with [it]”
Then she picks up two Ukrainian lawyers at the airport in San Jose
BAKERSFIELD, CA. – Former U.S. gymnast Amy Chow has fired her attorney and formally withdrawn her civil lawsuit against Dominique Moceanu, a member with Chow of the 1996 Olympic women’s gymnastics team.
Chow arrived several minutes past noon at district court in Bakersfield Monday, where she spent two hours before exiting the building and speaking briefly with reporters.
“There’s no point in going on with this lawsuit,” Chow said as her husband, Jason Ho, stood with his arm around her. “After reading Dominique’s interview, I’ve decided the lawsuit was the wrong way to go.”
Chow was referring to an interview published today in OK Cleveland! Magazine, wherein Moceanu accused Chow of “seducing” her, Moceanu, during a post-1996 Olympics gymnastics tour. Reporters asked Chow if Moceanu’s accusations were what drove her to drop the lawsuit. Chow refused to answer the question.
The seduction accusation notwithstanding, it is considered by legal analysts that Chow’s lawsuit was misguided and that Chow finally understood that and backed out.
Peter Willingham, a legal consultant in Portland, Maine, said there was no way Chow would have been able to win the case, and surely her attorney made that clear to her. Willingham said he doubted that Moceanu’s tale of “sex in the shower” had anything to do with it, because Moceanu is “about as unbalanced as a punching bag” and nobody would take anything she said seriously.
“It amazed me that Amy even filed [the lawsuit] in the first place,” Willingham said. “I heard only basic details of the case, but as soon as I heard that Amy passed on the design, it was clear she had no legal legs to stand on. But I can understand how high-profile athletes can want to sue each other. What I don’t understand is how Amy’s attorney let her go this far with it.”
The lawsuit, filed on March 12 here in Bakersfield, centered around Chow’s complaint that Moceanu in 2004 knew that the bobblehead doll that is now the Dominique Moceanu Bobblehead Doll was originally created to be the Amy Chow Bobblehead Doll. Chow believed this to be an unethical maneuver on Moceanu’s part that could have harmed Chow’s career.
Chow said in an interview last week that she hadn’t known of Moceanu’s doll until recently, when someone sent her an e-mail referring to it.
On Monday outside district court, Chow told reporters she had released her attorney earlier that morning. This made sense in light of her dropping her lawsuit. But upon leaving Bakersfield, Chow and her husband drove to the San Jose International Airport, where they picked up Ukraine attorneys Lilia Podkopayeva and Elena Piskun, the two principals in the Podkopayeva & Piskun law firm.
The defense attorneys from Ukraine exclusively represent lesbian clients. This has raised speculation that Chow may fear reprisals from Moceanu and wanted a legal team that, if Moceanu’s accusations about the seduction are correct, are skilled in working with gay women.
Chow refused to answer questions at the airport as she and her husband escorted Podkopayeva and Piskun to Chow’s vehicle. But Chow’s former attorney, Bruce Kennedy, said his and Chow’s parting was amicable and he couldn’t speculate on her association or relationships with the Ukraine attorneys.
“I do know this, however,” Kennedy said by phone Monday afternoon. “Amy is a smart cookie, and Moceanu is borderline illiterate. I don’t know what Amy has planned, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last from her on this subject. I agreed to represent her because I’m a friend of her parents. I’m much happier to sit back and see what happens next and not be personally involved.”
First report : Two former U.S. gymnasts will battle in court over a bobblehead doll.
Second report: Chow case could be thrown out.
Third report: Response from Podkopayeva & Piskun law offices.
Fourth report: Bakersfield rallies behind Moceanu in civil lawsuit.
Fifth report: Chow and Moceanu are headed to court.
Sixth report: Moceanu Interview: [Amy Chow] is a bitch and a predator.
Dominique Moceanu blasts Amy Chow in caustic magazine interview
She hurls accusations that could turn the gymnastics community on its head
CLEVELAND, OHIO – This is an unedited draft copy of Dominique Moceanu’s interview conducted on Friday, March 16, 2012 with Ok Cleveland! Magazine. The edited version will appear in the print publication on Monday, March 19, 2012.
Eliza Patton, OKCM editor: You’ve been a busy woman lately.
Dominique Moceanu: Tell me about it.
EP: The last I heard, the judge in your case ruled that there was sufficient evidence to bring Amy Chow’s lawsuit against you into court. How do you feel about that?
DM: Well, that’s what he says now, but the truth will come out. And I promise, it won’t take long.
EP: For readers who aren’t familiar with the situation, can you give us a brief thumbnail, before we get stared?
DM: Of course. In October of 2004, a company called Lite-Magic contacted me and asked if I was interested in marketing a bobblehead doll in my likeness. They showed me a prototype, and I decided, yeah, I’ll do it. I paid them $1,350 – long story why I had to do that – and they started mass-producing them and put them on the market. About a year and a half later – it was like early April, I remember, because Mike [Canales, Dominique’s husband], who was just my fiancé at that time, he was going through hell with an in-grown toenail, and he was all worried that he wouldn’t get his income taxes finished because of all the pain and everything, and while all that was happening . . . what was I talking about?
EP: You were saying something about a year and a half after you agreed to do the doll.
DM: Right. A year and a half later, I was talking to somebody at Lite-Magic about possibly doing some other promotions, you know, like a Dominique Moceanu lunch box, a Dominique Moceanu daily planner, a Dominique Moceanu leotard line, a Dominique Moceanu flat-screen TV, a Dominique Moceanu garage door opener. Things like that.
EP: That’s amazing.
DM: I know. Somebody even suggested we do an exclusive line of Dominique Moceanu caskets, but I didn’t think those would sell too good, since most of my fans are around my age or younger.
EP: Okay, so–
DM: Except for the men fans. But that’s a whole other story.
EP: I guess what I meant–
DM: So like I was saying, about a year and a half after I agreed to do the doll, that person I was telling you about at Lite-Magic, she goes, “I honestly think your doll looks a lot like you,” and I’m all, “Well, it doesn’t look that much like me, but it’s selling, so that’s the main thing.” And she goes, “Personally, I never thought it looked like Amy,” and I’m like, “Amy who?” and she goes, “Amy, Amy Chow, you know . . .” But I didn’t know. Nobody told me that stupid thing had been designed for Amy originally. So I said, “What the hell are you talking about?” and she kind of gasps, and she goes, “Dominique – they never told you?” Now her tone was the kind of tone people use when they realize you didn’t know you were adopted and now have to tell you the whole truth. So she goes, “I just thought you knew. I just figured somebody told you.” Now I’m getting worried as I’m listening to this. I said, “Tell me what you’re talking about,” and she told me that the doll was designed for Amy.
EP: Were you upset?
DM: I was upset that nobody told me, but, no, I didn’t really care that much who the doll was designed for, aside from the fact that after this revelation I spent four nights looking at that thing to see if there was anything in it that looked like Amy. There wasn’t, thank God.
EP: Did that person from Lite-Magic you talked to on the phone tell you that Amy had declined the design and removed herself from the project?
DM: That person didn’t, but she transferred me to somebody higher up, like a VP or something, and he told me it was just an oversight that nobody told me about Amy’s connection with the doll. I basically forgot about it then. Most dolls they make in the likeness of celebrities never look that much like the celebrities, anyway, so I didn’t really care.
EP: Amy has said in interviews recently that she never knew the doll was being marketed for you until she got an e-mail from somebody who mentioned it.
DM: Don’t believe it. I’m sure Amy knew it for a long time. She might have even known it for longer than I knew it had been made for her. She comes from a . . . sorry to say this, but she comes from a race of people you just can’t trust. Look what they did to Peal Harbor, or wherever it was, back in World War Two.
EP: That was the Japanese.
DM: No, it was World War Two. My dad told me about it, and he never lied about public information. Unless it had to do with sex and money.
EP: I mean the–
DM: Or my sister’s bulimia problem.
EP: Dominique – the race of people who sneak-attacked Pearl Harbor were Japanese.
EP: Amy is Chinese.
DM: (Stares at Eliza.) No way.
EP: Yes, way.
DM: (Seems to think hard about this.) Okay, you know what it is – I get those two races mixed up all the time because they look exactly alike. Either way, who cares – whatever she is, you can’t trust her. You couldn’t trust her if she was a normal American.
EP: Can you tell me why you say you can’t trust her?
DM: Yeah, because she’s a bitch and a predator.
DM: It’s true! Let me tell you something – and I would never have said this if she didn’t do what she’s doing to me with this stupid lawsuit. Right after Atlanta – and I knew this was coming, but I guess I just ignored it and kept working – but right after Atlanta – I could see it in her eyes, don’t ask me how – but right after Atlanta, when we were planning the John Hancock Tour, Amy propositioned me.
EP: Propositioned you?
DM: It was in the locker room at this gym we were all training at – well, everybody except Kerri, who they all blackballed . . . another long story. But, yeah, I’m in the shower – they had like metal walls that separated each shower, but there weren’t doors or anything, which normally was fine, since it was just us girls. So I’m in the shower, and Amy walks up totally nude. This was weird, because we never ran around the locker room naked. Now that I think about it, Shannon wouldn’t even take a shower naked – she wore a two-piece bathing suit, you know, a bikini, and just washed under it. I guess. I never paid that much attention.
EP: What did Amy want when she came to the shower?
DM: Well, she said she wanted to borrow some shampoo. I said no problem and gave her mine. Well, she took the bottle and stepped under the spray with me. I said, “Are you okay?” and she goes, “No, not really.” Amy I think was the oldest person on our team, and everybody kind of looked to her for guidance. Dominique Dawes was too worried about the fact she was black, so she was never any help. Amanda was our captain, but she wasn’t a very good gymnast, so nobody . . . what’s that word for when you let somebody take over or take charge?
DM: Yeah, so we never deferred Amanda. Kerri was too scatterbrained to get deferred, and Shannon was a nutcase, and Jaycie was only sixteen. So Amy was the one . . . what was I talking about?
EP: You and Amy in the shower.
DM: Right. So I . . . she got in there with me, under the water, and I asked her if she was all right, because normally most of the other girls didn’t even talk to me that much, much less take a shower with me. And Amy looks in my eyes and tells me I’m one of the most beautiful girls she’s ever seen in her life.
EP: That’s pretty far out.
DM: I was really pretty back then. I have like ten bags of letters I never even–
EP: No, I mean . . . I mean just everything you’re telling me. So this is how she “propositioned” you, as you put it?
DM: No, she was leading up to that. She goes, and I remember her exact words, she goes, “I’ve never had anything inside of me.”
DM: I know it sounds strange, but there’s all kinds of lesbian activity among elite gymnasts. Everybody is all hush-hush about it, but believe me, it happens. I won’t mention names – except Amy’s – but it happens all the time.
EP: So Amy said she never had anything inside her.
DM: Yeah, and then she goes, “I’ve never been with a girl,” and I’m like, well why the heck are you telling me all this? I was naïve. So I just told her I’d never been with a girl, either, even though I had no idea what she was talking about. But then she kind of moved closer and put out her hand and touched one of my breasts. She goes, “I think about you all the time,” and that just blew my mind, because I still didn’t put two and two together. My thought at that time was, Well, if you would think more about gymnastics and less about me, maybe you would have won something useful in your career. But I didn’t say it.
EP: Were you scared?
DM: Surprisingly, no. I was confused more than anything. But I let her touch me, for some idiotic reason. And then she pushed on me, you know, kind of to get me to move back against the wall, and when I got my back against the wall, and the shower spray’s going all over us, and she bent down a little, cause she’s a lot taller, and she bends down and kisses my cheek, and as soon as she does that, her hand goes between my legs.
EP: My God.
DM: She was very gentle . . . and . . . I really don’t want to talk about what happened after that, because it’s embarrassing. When I was fourteen, I had no clue about, you know, sexuality and all that. My body was for gymnastics, that’s it. I never, you know, even did stuff with myself. You know.
EP: I’m sorry.
DM: That’s okay. Mike taught me.
EP: No, I mean I’m sorry for what happened with you and Amy.
DM: Well, that time in the shower was the only time, but not too long after that I began to understand what had really happened. After the shower, up to the time I got this understanding, me and Amy never talked about what we did, and we were pretty much like we always were to each other, you know, when we were all together and performing on the tour and stuff.
EP: What happened when you, as you put it, began to understand?
DM: I went on a computer in the school library – this was during a break from the tour – and I read about, you know, two girls and everything. I knew, like as a concept, that some girls did things with girls and all that, but I really had no clue what it was all about. I was totally a-sexual. Is that the right word?
DM: Good, cause I’m not very good with words. So I was a-sexual, and then here comes Amy and, like, how do you say it? She put a fire in me. There’s more embarrassing stuff here I’m not going to talk about, but the point is, once I understood what really happened between us, I went to her. We were in Indianapolis, at a hotel, and we all had private rooms, because the money was just rolling in from the tour, and I went to Amy’s room, and we talked. Actually we had a pretty bad fight.
EP: Can you talk about that?
DM: Yeah. I asked her why did she do that to me in the shower. And she starts with all of this crap that I’m the one who seduced her! That’s the word she used, seduced. I’m like, “I didn’t seduce you!” and she’s all, “Then why did you get on your knees . . .” and she mentioned a specific thing I did – but I did it because she told me to do it. I wouldn’t even have known to do that. I would have thought it was gross. It turned out it wasn’t, but I would have figured it would be.
EP: This is almost unbelievable. It’s horrifying.
DM: Yeah, well, the thing is, that night in her room, that’s the last night we ever talked, unless we absolutely had to, which wasn’t very often. She turned it all around. Now that I’m older and everything, I know exactly what happened. She seduced me. Period. Why? I don’t know. It was only that one time. Maybe that’s all she needed. Who knows?
EP: But you both . . . I mean you . . . it was mutual there in the shower, right?
DM: I was young and stupid. Amy was a predator. She was nineteen and forceful , I was fourteen and famous, and I’m sure she broke the law in some way or the other.
EP: Why did you wait so long to tell this story?
DM: There wasn’t any point to telling it until now. After we had that fight in her room, her hotel room that night, I just wrote it off to she was crazy and went on about my business. I’m not in any way saying it wasn’t . . . what was that word you said? When both people want to do something?
DM: Yes, mutual. I’m not saying it wasn’t mutual in the shower, but I am saying it was her idea, and she took advantage of my stupidity.
EP: Do you–
DM: Which people had been doing all my life, so I guess I should have been used to it.
EP: Do you honestly believe Amy’s crazy?
DM: Yes, but she hides it good. Probably part of being Japanese.
DM: Oh, right, World War Two. But this stupid lawsuit is because she’s jealous, not so much because she’s crazy.
EP: How is she jealous?
DM: Like I’ve said before – look at what I’ve done with my life since I retired. I do seminars, private training, choreography. I have a new book called Off Balance that’s due out in June. What has Amy done? She’s a doctor. Big whoop.
EP: She’s a pediatrician.
DM: So she likes to work with old people – so what? I’ve worked my butt off to get where I am today.
EP: Do you believe the judge will rule in your favor in the lawsuit?
DM: Oh, I know he will, once he gets the whole story. And it’s so easy: Lite-Magic made a doll that didn’t look anything like her, and she didn’t want it. As far as I know, she never signed anything. Meaning, she had no rights to it. I don’t see how a judge can look at that evidence and say I owe her anything.
EP: According to a news report last week, Amy gave the judge various pieces of evidence, and that’s what made him decide to push the case into court. He was thinking of throwing the case out.
DM: Whatever she gave him is all lies, and she knows it. And my attorney in this thing, he promised that we would wreck her if she went through with the lawsuit. Well, if she wants a war, she’ll get a war. I just wish people could stop being so petty and self-centered and thinking the whole world revolves around them.
EP: Before we conclude here, is there anything else you’d like to say?
DM: Yes. If you go to Dominique-dash-Moceanu-dot-com, there’s a place where you can pre-order my book, Off Balance. On the Boutique page, you can also order my four books for young gymnasts, plus there’s a DVD and a bunch of photos and posters of me you can buy. You can check out my blog, where I write about important gymnastics topics like speaking engagements I do and gymnastics events all over the place.
EP: Anything else?
DM: Yes. If you want me to speak somewhere or sign up for gymnastics camps and clinics or fitness workshops, you can access all that through my Booking page. Then there’s a page with all kinds of photos of me including some from the Dominique Moceanu Invitational.
EP: Well, I want to thank–
DM: My event was way bigger than Nastia Liukin’s, FYI.
EP: Thank you, Dominique. We’re looking forward to keeping up with the trial and everything else you’re doing to your – I mean with your life.
DM: It was my pleasure.
First report : Two former U.S. gymnasts will battle in court over a bobblehead doll.
Second report: Chow case could be thrown out.
Third report: Response from Podkopayeva & Piskun law offices.
Fourth report: Bakersfield rallies behind Moceanu in civil lawsuit.
Fifth report: Chow and Moceanu are headed to court.
Judge says the case will go on
About her 3/15 interview, Moceanu says, “Sorry, Amy, but you pushed me to it.”
BAKERSFIELD, CA. – Chow vs. Moceanu will move into court, a district court judge ruled Thursday, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 2.
U.S. District Judge John Mayberry said he believes the case has merit after reviewing various pieces of evidence from former U.S. gymnast Amy Chow – evidence that Mayberry said the public will not have access to until it is revealed in court.
A civil lawsuit filed by Chow on Monday at district court in Bakersfield, Calif., charges Chow’s former teammate, Dominique Moceanu, with unlawfully marketing as her own a bobblehead doll originally made for Chow. The 33-year-old Chow, who is now a physician in Stanford, Calif., also accuses Moceanu of unethical business practices that Chow believes could harm her public image.
Chow declined to go forward with production of the doll, which Moceanu, 30, believes releases her, Moceanu, from any accusation of legal wrongdoing.
In an interview shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Moceanu maintained that she did nothing wrong when in 2004 she agreed to let novelty toy manufacturer Lite-Magic of St. Louis create “The Dominique Moceanu Bobblehead Doll” from a prototype the company originally had designed for an Amy Chow doll.
Noting that she hadn’t been aware of Chow’s connection to the design at the time Lite-Magic approached her, Moceanu said on Monday, “I can’t even believe this is even happening to me. She can’t sue me for something that was never hers . . . I didn’t steal her stupid doll.”
Moceanu was to be interviewed Friday by a community magazine in Cleveland, where she lives. When reached by phone earlier that same day, she would not elaborate on the angle of the interview, except to say, “I’m sick and tired of people trying to take advantage of me, so this time, I’m telling my side of the Amy Chow story. Sorry, Amy, but you pushed me to it.”
Seems residents aren’t partial to “foreigners” like Amy Chow
A look at this city and its leanings in this volatile lawsuit
Monday, March 12, 2012
BAKERSFIELD, CA. – Within hours after learning that former U.S. gymnast Amy Chow had filed a civil lawsuit here Monday, charging her former teammate Dominique Moceanu with stealing Chow’s bobblehead doll design, residents of Bakersfield emerged with a unified voice in support of the 30-year-old, Romanian-born Moceanu.
At the downtown Silas Café, customers watched video tapes of the 1996 Olympics, where Moceanu and Chow along with five teammates won a gymnastics team gold medal for the United States, its first in the modern history of the sport. The videos were set up by Rick and Hazel Silas, owners of the café.
“You can say what you want about Bakersfield and its fine citizens,” Rick Silas said, “but when the chips are down, we stand behind our own. Amy Chow needs to go back to China where she belongs, along with all the rest of them. (Expletive) foreigner!”
When told that Moceanu is of Romanian heritage, Silas said, “Right. American. That’s what we’re talking about . . . Romania is in the United States, right?”
A northern California city in the San Joaquin Valley about 110 miles north of Los Angeles, Bakersfield is the ninth-largest city in California, with a population of some 347,000. Although busy and urban, it has held on to its traditional, small-town, agricultural roots.
While hungry locals ate and watched the Olympics at the Silas Café, often breaking into boos and vulgarity when Chow performed, Bakersfield City Council members were busy breaking ground for new restrooms at J. Jenks Memorial Park, in honor of Moceanu.
“It’s a crying shame when a foreigner can come over here and haul one of our own into court the way that Chow woman is doing,” said councilman Shane Foley. “It’s just a disgrace. Dominique didn’t do nothing wrong. All she did is try to pursue the American Dream. What’s wrong with that?”
Upon hearing that Moceanu was born of Romanian parents, Foley said, “Look – it don’t matter to me what religion a person is. She’s American. That’s all I care about.”
Overhearing Foley, Bakersfield Mayor Emily Shanahan said, “If Amy Chow is going to drag sweet little Dominique all the way to California to be on trial, by God we’re going to build the best bathrooms this side of the Mississippi for her!”
Later in the day, Bakersfield Police were called in to break up a riot at the Little League baseball fields between locals and a group of Chinese Nationals, who were in the middle of a tour of California. Bakersfield Police Sgt. Micha Bolduc said no one was injured, but the situation did threaten to spill out of control at times.
“It’s just a rowdy crowd,” Bolduc said as officers led several handcuffed men toward squad cars. “The problem is, most of them were drunk, and they were passing around pictures of Dominique in a leotard and, well, drunk . . . Dominique . . . leotard – you can pretty much figure it out from there.”
None of the Chinese nationals were injured, but one man in the group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and would not speak English, said, “貝克斯菲爾德將支付我們周慧芬酷刑。政府將知道這一定會迅速採取行動。”
Translated using Google Translate, which is often incorrect in the translation of both grammar and usage intent, the national’s words were, “A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse, of course.”
At police headquarters, after the rioters and been dispersed, Bakersfield Police Chief Ronald G. Harris said no harm was intended to the Chinese, and Bakersfield residents are generally very friendly and easy-going.
“Believe me, there was no problem down there [at the Little League fields],” Harris told reporters. “The problem with this whole thing is, you have this patriotic issue, and right now, after Bin Laden and all that junk, our folks are pretty patriotic. We have nothing against the Chinese, in particular, but when one of them starts trying to cause problems for a true-blue red-blooded American like sweet little Dominique Moceanu – right here in our city – well, people are going to react. But we’ve got it under control.”
U.S. District Judge John Mayberry said earlier on Monday that within the next several days he will make the decision whether or not to take the Chow case to trial.
The Law Offices of Podkopayeva & Piskun
Serving Ukraine and all kind of other place!
Hi, all you peoples!
We get wind of civil case at United States where Amy Chow charges Dominique Moceanu for stealing her bubblehead doll. Attorney Piskun and me, we talk it out over late lunch, and we decide to have a comment – especially since you haven’t hear from us for long time and business is kind of slow.
Me and Attorney Piskun both, we compete gymnastiks all kind of time with Amy and Dominique and always enjoy it when we can beat them, especially like what happen in the All-Around at Atlanta USA Georgia. When we hear of case, we say to our selfs, Now something smell fishy here. And we know what it is.
There is what is call a Statue of Limitations, which basically mean when a person has some time limit where he or she is legally protected. Example include, let’s say a dyke goes walking down street here in Ukraine and woman come riding by on bicycle and throw a brick at dyke’s head! (We have case with just those actions!)
Well, dyke needs to report this offense to police, but maybe she hurt too bad to be running all over town to police station. Law say she have statue of limitations of one year before she has to bring charge to homophobic bike rider. One whole year.
Most cases – and it include civil and criminal both – have its own statue of limitations. Ukraine law not exactly like American law, though. For instance, in America, is not capital offense to slay another man’s ox, but if you get caught with cigarettes and you are just 12 year old, in America you might get in all kind of trouble. In Ukraine you might not have any trouble. If your uncle or somebody is working for Ukraine Cabinet of Ministers, kid probably gonna get left alone and smoke till he rots.
So is hard to know how American statue of limitations is gonna apply with Amy Chow. But if it is Ukraine, court would rule in favor of Amy if she can prove Moceanu signed contract to have doll produced within a year of Amy turning it down. This is because Amy is what you call “Public Figure.” Also, company that make the doll, they will probably be cited and fined here in Ukraine and possible tariff laid on their business for a couple year.
But even if law don’t work in Amy’s favor over there in Bakersfield, there is still unethical behavior by Dominique by taking Aimee’s doll and not even have it adjusted to look like her self. Attorney Piskun and myself both believe doll looks more like Elena Mukhina than either of those two Americans, but Mukhina dead now, and it don’t matter about statue of limitations when you’re dead. (Unless you have close relative very high up in Cabinet of Ministers.)
What we will advise Amy if we talked to her is, try to win on Dominique stealing the doll idea within statue of limitation time. If it don’t work, immediate file another civil suit charging all kind of thing including unethical business deal, defamation of characters, slander, use wrong floor music – anything at all that attorney can come up with.
If we represented Amy, we might withdraw current lawsuit and go right for the charges we just mentioned above. No matter about statue of limitations, won’t be much damage a judge can give Amy with current lawsuit, since the fine line that exists make it hard to know how to determine what is right and legal.
Since we don’t represent Amy, we hope to just follow along on the case and learn a little about American law. This is because is possible one of these times, a dyke gonna wander in our office and say, “Help, I’m an American dyke!” and we need to know what to do to her. I mean for her.
To visit the official website of the Law Offices of Podkopayeva & Piskun, CLIT HERE. (Ooops, make a typo, but is okay to leave it in this time!)
Judge cites lack of evidence, saying he may dismiss
Also expresses concern over having Moceanu and Chow in the same courtroom.
BAKERSFIELD, CA. – A U.S. district judge may dismiss the civil lawsuit filed Monday by former American gymnast Amy Chow that charges a former teammate with stealing a design for a bobblehead doll that Chow says was originally created for her.
Judge John Mayberry spoke with a small bank of reporters Monday afternoon at U.S. District Court in Bakersfield, Calif., saying he believes if Chow, 33, and former teammate Dominique Moceanu, 30, appear in court together, it could “wind up going down a dark and desperate road from which there may be no getting back.”
“I’m thinking we might need to let this case go, simply because Ms. Chow has not been able to supply any substantial evidence that the doll was made specifically for her,” Mayberry said, adding that his court assistants have yet to reach anyone at Lite-Magic, the St. Louis company that manufactured the doll.
“This isn’t to say Ms. Chow is not being truthful, but in past cases such as this, when a prototype is created but never lawfully contracted to a specific individual, the firm that made the design often has no record of the original intent,” Mayberry said. “We’re waiting to hear from the manufacturer, but I’m not holding my breath.”
Chow on Monday morning filed the lawsuit that alleges Moceanu knew the bobblehead doll was made for Chow but paid to have numerous copies of the novelty created for sale as “The Dominique Moceanu Bobblehead Doll.”
At the courthouse in Bakersfield, after the filing, Chow, a gold-medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, told reporters that the doll was made in 2004 in hopes she would authorize it and allow Lite-Magic to mass-produce it for sale. Chow said that she decided not to move forward with the project, but that didn’t mean that Moceanu should or could rightfully put her own name on the doll.
“Based on my understanding at this time,” Mayberry said, “Ms. Chow realizes that she doesn’t own any kind of rights to the doll. But because she is a public figure, she’s charging Ms. Moceanu with an unethical act that has advanced her [Moceanu’s] career while possibly damaging [Chow’s].”
Mayberry added that if he brings the case to trial, he wouldn’t be looking forward to having Chow and Moceanu in the same courtroom.
“I’m personal friends with C. William Harvey, the judge who presided at Ms. Moceanu’s emancipation trial back in the nineties,” Mayberry said. “This morning I happened to mention to him on the phone that Ms. Moceanu might be appearing in my courtroom and gave him brief details of the case. You know what Bill said to me? He said ‘Run!’”
Mayberry said of course he wouldn’t let a friend’s advice sway him from taking the Chow case, but he said he was concerned when Harvey told him, “That girl [Moceanu] could walk into a three-ring circus and in ten minutes have the entire operation disrupted.”
Mayberry said he’ll make a decision on the case “over the next several days.” If the case is approved, proceedings will likely begin on April 2.
Amy Chow files a lawsuit against Dominique Moceanu for “stealing” her doll
Moceanu says it was never Chow’s doll in the first place
BAKERSFIELD, CA. – Sixteen years ago they were friends and teammates, helping their fellow gymnasts win an Olympic team gold medal in Atlanta. Today Amy Chow, 33, and Dominique Moceanu, 30, are headed to court to battle over the Dominique Moceanu bobblehead doll.
Chow on Monday filed a civil lawsuit against Moceanu, claiming that the doll was actually designed as a prototype for her and that Moceanu knowingly used it without her, Chow’s, permission.
“I had no idea Dominique had done this until someone who sent me an e-mail mentioned it in passing,” Chow told reporters Monday outside U.S. District Court in Bakersfield, Calif. “If she had asked me if she could use it, I might have said, ‘Okay, fine, use it, I don’t care.’ But to go behind my back without even consulting me . . . well, this is par for the course with Dominique.”
According to Chow, in 2004 she had agreed to look at a prototype of a bobblehead doll that Lite-Magic, a toy and novelty manufacturer in St. Louis, wanted to make for her. By the time a sample doll was ready, Chow had soured on the project and so declined to go forward with a full run and subsequent marketing and sales.
“Conceptually, I liked the idea,” said Chow, now a pediatrician in Stanford, Calif., “but when I saw the design, I didn’t care for it. It didn’t look anything like me. And it looks even less like Dominique.”
Chow said that had she gone on with the project, it would have cost her between $1,200 and $1,500 to pay for the initial design. Lite-Magic commonly creates prototypes of novelty products for celebrities at its own expense, in hopes of bringing on board the celebrity, who will then pay for the cost of the design.
A spokesperson for Lite-Magic said the company has a sound business model and that it’s rare that a person for whom a design is made doesn’t like or approve of the prototype. The spokesperson would not comment on Chow’s doll.
“Dominique just did this as a way to get something for nothing,” Chow said. “Again, par for the course.”
In a telephone interview, Moceanu said that because Chow declined the prototype design, she had no legal rights to it or to anything that happened with it from that point on.
“I can’t even believe this is even happening to me,” said Moceanu, who lives in Cleveland with her husband and two young children. “She can’t sue me for something that was never hers. I didn’t steal her stupid doll. Some guy at Lite-Magic or whatever it’s called contacted me and said they want to do a bobblehead for me, and he showed me the doll, and I thought, well, it’s kind of corny, but let’s go with it. I didn’t even know Amy was involved until way down the line.”
Moceanu contends that Chow is “jealous” because of the continued success that she, Moceanu, has had since their team performed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Although Chow went on to compete for the United States four years later at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and Moceanu did not, Moceanu believes Chow “never took her gymnastics career seriously,” and therefore never benefited from her celebrity status.
“I mean, all you have to do is compare the two of us,” Moceanu said. “I do gymnastics camps, choreography, public speaking, fitness training. I promote Cleveland restaurants, for crying out loud. I have busy social networking accounts, I’m raising two kids and we’re thinking about getting a dog. What’s Amy doing? A doctor? I’m married to a doctor, and take my word for it, it’s not that big of a deal.”
A hearing is scheduled for April 2 in district court in Bakersfield.