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Celebs Dead or Alive Kept Our Civil Courts Busy in 2009

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It's big business when a celebrity dies--not just for the memorabilia hawkers, the slap-dash t-shirt makers, or the TV documentarians, but because the late celeb's business keeps local civil courts busy.

In 2009 it was Michael Jackson whose death prompted "a flurry of legal filings," according to the Daily News, in a roundup of celebs whose names and affairs filled the dockets of civil courts. For Jackson it was issues of his estate and the custody of his three children that drew plenty of legal action here in Los Angeles.

For many celebs it was the granting of restraining orders, such as with Britney Spears' former manager Sam Lutfi, and would-be followers (fans or paparazzi) of "Justin Timberlake, gymnast Shawn Johnson, Ryan Seacrest and Nicole Richie," who were told to stay away.

Jennifer Lopez used the legal system to keep "private footage about the brief Lopez-[Ojani] Noa marriage" out of circulation, while retired Price is Right host Bob Barker's "lawyers persuaded a judge to throw out a former show employee's claims that he tolerated racism and other misconduct by his staff."

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David Copperfield and Sylvester Stallone were both named in lawsuits, while civil courts determined Richard Pryor--who died in 2005--is the only person who could end one of his marriages, thus curtailing one of his daughters' lawsuits. And of course there are celeb divorces making headlines.

Also, let's not forget D-I-V-O-R-C-E: In Los Angeles 2009 those high-profile cases included legal moves to end the marriages of "Dodger owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie; Mel Gibson and his spouse, Robyn; Hugh Hefner and wife, Kimberly Conrad; LeAnn Rimes and husband, Dean Sheremet; and James Caan and his wife, Linda."