Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Round 2: Parlux Comes Out Swinging at Jay Z

Today, attorneys for plaintiffs Parlux Fragrances and Perfumania filed a blizzard of documents in their ongoing lawsuit against Jay Z. Why? Because at oral arguments on February 28, Jay Z’s side attempted to have key elements of the Parlux complaint tossed out, and Judge Ramos said no.

That opened the way for Parlux to fire the big guns today. They asked the court to compel Jay Z and his company, S. Carter Enterprises, LLC, to produce a ton of documents and to answer interrogatories, i.e., a laundry list of questions regarding the dispute. And they want things to happen quickly—they asked for a hearing on their motion to be held on June 14.

The attorneys are making liberal use of the protective order granted by Judge Ramos that allows them to redact sensitive information or file it under seal. Of the fifteen documents filed by Parlux today, six exhibits are under seal and two others are partially redacted. Still, FirstNerve can fill you in on the big picture.

Parlux claims Jay Z was contractually obligated to be available to market, develop and promote the Gold Jay Z fragrance; yet he nevertheless failed to fulfill these obligations. Therefore, Parlux is demanding relevant information as to why; in particular, they want details about  Jay Z’s schedule at the time and his obligations to other brands and business ventures. Parlux is also asking Jay Z’s side to put up or shut up regarding its counterclaim for damages owed to Jay Z; in other words, get real and tell us how you arrived at the dollar number you are demanding from Parlux.
Although Plaintiffs duly paid the royalties which ultimately inured to the benefit of Jay-Z, Defendants simply refused to uphold their end of the bargain. As Defendants’ counsel acknowledged at oral argument in open court in February 2018, Jay-Z did not show up to a single personal appearance over the entire life of the license.
The brief goes on to quote the same damning courtroom exchange that FirstNerve highlighted.

Parlux recounts how Jay Z bailed on planned November 2013 launch events at Macy’s and Sephora with only a couple of weeks notice, adding:
The November 2013 events are not the only time Parlux sought the required input and involvement from Defendants only to be rebuked and/or ignored. In fact, numerous documents produced in this case demonstrate that this was the modus operandi of the Defendants for the entirety of the contractual relationship. As early as April 30, 2013 – months before the scheduled launch of the initial fragrance – Defendant Jay-Z indicated his unwillingness to meet his contractual obligations.
According the brief, Parlux repeatedly tried to arrange meetings, only to be told by Jay Z’s team that the star was “unavailable.” The brief includes a redacted quote from an internal Jay Z email, after which the Parlux team states:
Apparently, taking the money and not doing the work is Jay-Z’s mantra.
The Parlux brief goes into great (often redacted) detail with respect to Jay Z’s repeated “non-collaborative attitude and stonewalling” which continued throughout 2013 and into 2014. The Parlux brief contains several redacted quotes from emails sent by Jay Z and Desiree Perez, the COO of S. Carter Enterprises (herself an interesting character). On what basis were these quotes kept from public view? [Foul language?—Ed.]

Included in today’s filings by Parlux are the interrogatories for Jay Z and S. Carter Enterprises (SCE) that were sent originally in May 2016. Interestingly, the questions extend to three other Jay Z enterprises: Artistic Brands Development LLC, Marcy Fragrance Trading Co. LLC, and Roc Nation Sports.

Among other things, Parlux wants to know the current disposition and/or ownership of 300,000 shares of Perfumania common stock and 800,000 Perfumania warrants that were given to Jay Z et al. as part of the perfume deal. Also, Parlux is still sore about that missing 18-carat gold dummy bottle of Gold Jay Z; thus they demand:
14. All documents concerning the location of the 18-carat gold GOLD JAY Z bottles designed by Jacob the Jeweler.
Given Jay Z’s many business deals, this demand is a doozy:
20. All documents concerning any effort that SCE or Carter undertook to promote, market and/or support any of the other brands and/or ventures that SCE or Carter own, or in which they otherwise have a financial interest.
In the February hearing, Judge Ramos expressed puzzlement as to why this case it taking so long. If the Parlux brief is to be believed, it is because Jay Z’s attorneys are deliberately dragging their feet. Expect that to continue, but also expect Judge Ramos to turn up the heat and get the case moving.

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