Saturday, July 2, 2022

H.E.R. Sues Recording Company Over ‘Significantly Limited’ Contract

H.E.R.
Musician H.E.R. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for ModCloth)

*Singer-songwriter H.E.R. is suing her record label to get out of her “significantly limiting” contract. 

The Grammy Award-winning artist (born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson) filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in Los Angeles on Thursday (June 16). Per Billboard, she alleges “that MBK Entertainment has controlled Wilson’s career decisions beyond the seven-year period allowed under California Labor Code Section 2855, also known as the “Seven-Year Statute,” the outlet writes. 

MBK is owned by her manager Jeff Robinson, who signed H.E.R. in 2011 at 14 years old. All of her releases through MBK were distributed by Sony Music’s RCA Records. 

“Wilson has not been free to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK,” the complaint, written by her attorney Allen Grodsky, reads. 

READ MORE: Beyoncé Drops New Single ‘Break My Soul’ Ahead of ‘Renaissance’ Album

H.E.R. suing record label
Musician H.E.R performs onstage during ModCloth Hosts Special Performance By Grammy Winning Artist H.E.R. on February 16, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for ModCloth)

Here’s more from the report:

According to Wilson’s complaint, the agreement with MBK violates California law by binding her as an “exclusive employee” of the company past the seven-year period allowed under Section 2855 of the state labor code. Under the contract, Wilson is held to an “‘Initial Period’ which ended the later of 15 months after May 19, 2011 or 12 months after the commercial release in the United States of Wilson’s first album under the contract, and up to five additional Option Periods of more than one year each,” as noted in the complaint.

The suit further alleges that after Wilson hired Robinson as her manager, he fired the law firm that represented her in negotiating her MBK recording deal and then used his own lawyers to represent her in subsequent agreements, including publishing and touring deals. While those lawyers took a 5% commission on each of those deals, they “did not have a written fee agreement or a conflict waiver” signed by Wilson but rather performed those services “as a favor” to Robinson, who was also paid a 20% commission for each of the deals.

“Wilson’s seven years have run. MBK’s attempts to thwart this important and fundamental California public policy should not be condoned,” the lawsuit filed in a California Superior Court reads, Digital Music News reports. 

Wilson is seeking a judicial declaration that her agreement with MBK is “voidable and may not be enforced against Plaintiff under California law to the extent it purports to require Plaintiff’s services after May 18, 2019.” 

She is also asking for “restitution and disgorgement of funds according to proof,” costs of the suit, and “other and further relief” as determined by the court, per the report. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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