Often, I am contacted by entertainment industry persons here in the USA looking to do business with Africa’s entertainment industries. One of the first things I always say is that to do business in Africa, you have to have a healthy respect for those you seek to enter into a business arrangement with.
Indeed, narrowing in on the music industry, it has become a pattern and practice to see many American music celebrities plan concerts in Africa, the Carribean, receive the requisite depository fees for their appearances and performances, yet they fail to appear. (It actually is also a problem locally here in the USA, especially in smaller cities where big music stars are solicited to perform). Worse, these music stars keep all funds remitted to them with no legally valid reason to do so.
In the past, those overseas, especially in Africa, felt helpless and did not know they could avail themselves of US courtrooms and law firms to file the appropriate lawsuits against the breaching parties, in the states the contracts were entered into. Today, times have changed and these businesses and individuals overseas are bringing the fight on US soil where US citizens cause them substantial monetary loss.
In the case below reported by Allhiphop.com, Rick Ross, Maybach Music’s boss promised to perform in Nigeria late last year but he failed to do so. The Organizers of that event now sue him for $2million in a New York court.
“(AllHipHop News) Rapper Rick Ross, his sister Tawanda Roberts and his manager Michael Lighty are being sued for almost $2 million in damages, by a United Kingdom promotional company over a canceled 2011 concert in Nigeria.
The lawsuit was filed on July 3 in the Supreme Court of New York, by Zons P.R., a UK-based company organized to do business in Nigeria.
Zons P.R. was hired on behalf of Star Lager beer, a brand affiliate of Heineken, which is popular in Nigeria and West Africa.
The annual Star Mega Jam has been taking place in Nigeria since 2000 and draws as many as 50,000 people to the concert, which is the largest of its kind in West Africa.
Rick Ross was supposed to headline the 2011 Star Mega Jam concert, which was to take place on December 17, 2011.
The lawsuit claims that Zons P.R. began to negotiate with Rick Ross’s sister Tawanda Roberts, who acts as his manager, on behalf of Rick Ross.
Zons P.R. deposited $87,500 into Rick Ross’s account, with the agreement that Rick Ross would execute certain obligations. . .” –Allhiphop.com
Key Legal Issue at Bar
Breach of Contract
It is also not uncommon in breach of contract complaint/claims to have an allegation of fraud also pled. The Plaintiff in this case does plead a cause of action for fraud. The argument is that Rick Ross knew even before the argument was solidified that he would not follow through in meeting his end of the bargain. Yet, he entered into such contract with the Plaintiff. A cause of action for ‘Unjust Enrichment’ is also not unusual as part of a breach of contract complaint.
How is this case going to resolve?
Most likely, it will be resolved in a settlement negotiation which might very well also include a future performance in Nigeria.
For a thorough discussion on the breach of contract issue in a similar case where Rick Ross also allegedly breached a contract for failure to perform in Cross River, Nigeria, click here.