March 29, 2017

Artist Testifies Prior Witness Lied In Aykroyd Vodka Trial

Law360, Los Angeles (March 28, 2017, 10:44 PM EDT) — Lawyers for actor Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka dropped a bombshell just before closing arguments in their trade dress suit against a tequila rival, calling a sculptor to testify that he had been asked to base the rival’s bottle on Crystal Head’s — and that the tequila company’s founder admitted to him that she lied on the stand about it last week.

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Under questioning by Globefill attorney David Berg of Berg & Androphy, Szymoniak testified that he had met Elements founder Kim Brandi in 2009, when he was tattooing her then-boyfriend, and Brandi told him she was trying to launch a tequila that would be contained in bottles that resembled Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls, or calaveras. Szymoniak said that he told Brandi he had experience with sculpting, casting and molding, and he was then hired to help her improve on her first clay prototype.

Szymoniak testified that Brandi wasn’t happy with what she had come up with and actually gave him one of Crystal Head’s glass skull-shaped bottles for him to make a cast of, and that he then used clay and tools to modify that copy to produce the version that Brandi ultimately accepted.

Szymoniak said that he hadn’t heard from Brandi since 2010 — until last Tuesday, when she contacted him via Facebook. Szymoniak said she asked him to come over, saying she wanted to give him a check for $10,000 to make up for his not receiving royalties he had been promised for his work. Once he got to Brandi’s place of business, however, she focused on the lawsuit, asking Szymoniak for help finding differences between the bottles and telling him she had been lying when she told the jury she hadn’t even heard of Crystal Head when she made her own bottle.

“She just said, ‘I lied under oath and said I had never seen the crystal skull bottle, but I handed it you, the frickin, the effing bottle,’” he said.

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Globefill Inc. is represented by David Berg, Zenobia Harris Bivens, Victoria R. Mery and Michael M. Fay of Berg & Androphy and Hernan D. Vera of Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert Nessim Drooks Lincenberg & Rhow PC.

The case is Globefill Inc. v. Elements Spirits Inc., case number 2:10-cv-02034, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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