Judge Blocks Planned Sale of Whitney Houston's Emmy Award | NBC Southern California

Judge Blocks Planned Sale of Whitney Houston's Emmy Award

The Academy of Television Arts & Science contends its the owner of the award

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    An Emmy Award won by Whitney Houston 30 years ago is the focus of a legal battle between an auction house and Emmy organizers seeking to block the trophy's sale.

    A judge has blocked the sale of Whitney Houston's Emmy Award that the late singer's family had put up for auction.

    U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson issued a temporary restraining order Thursday against Heritage Auctions and the pop star's estate, which planned to sell the Emmy.

    Houston won the TV award in 1986 for her performance of "Saving All My Love for You" during the Grammy ceremony.

    The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court, saying the sale would violate academy rules.

    In its lawsuit, the academy says Houston won her trophy when the Emmys carried a label stipulating they were academy property and that an heir seeking to dispose of an award must return it to the academy for storage in "memory of the recipient." 

    The lawsuit, which includes copyright infringement among its allegations, asks for a court order returning Houston's statuette to the academy and seeks a jury trial for unspecified damages. 

    Anderson's ruling says the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has preliminarily shown it's the owner of the award and is likely to win the case. He set a hearing for July 7 to extend the order.

    Heritage Auctions spokesman Eric Bradley says the company would abide by the order.

    The Emmy, included in an auction of Houston memorabilia set for Friday and Saturday in Beverly Hills, California, had a starting bid of $10,000.

    Houston died in 2012 at age 48.