I signed a contract for 2 years with a Model out of Miami. She breached the contract by being represented and promoted by another company as well as other agreements written in the contract.
How do I go about suing her for breach of contract? In the contract, legal fees are to be paid by the talent if they should breach the contract. She has one full year left and still owes me money.
I want to take her to civil court, is there another way to handle this?
Criminal Defense Attorney
Take the contract to a civil litigator - preferably someone who has handled similar situations.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
Sure its a breach of contract suit. Whether its worth prosecuting depends on the terms of the contract and what she is earning.
If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com
3 lawyers agree
Trademark Application Attorney
A big tactical question is whether you can sue her in MD or must go to Miami. That depends on the language of the contract. I would start with a MD business contracts lawyer and go from there.
It is possible the matter can be resolved without litigation, less expensively and with more certain results.
Incidentally, depending on the facts (do NOT tell us more of the here) the outfit that lured he away may have some liability.
Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
A better approach than suing her is likely suing both her and her new rep and doing it in a public manner so that others don't try that with you. If you just let this one "walk" others will walk over you. See a litigator and get after it, your "rep" is on the line. But, do it professionally without letting emotion control you.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
1 lawyer agrees
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
These cases are tricky, and I have recently been involved in several of them. Your first step is to retain New York counsel to review the contract to ascertain whether you have valid claims---unless the contract is crystal clear in forbidding this model from working with another company, you may have difficulty enforcing it---particularly if this other company succeeded in getting lots of work for the model and you failed to do so. Courts in New York are wary of these types of contracts in situations in which the new representative dramatically increases the amount of revenues earned by the model.
Nonetheless, if the contract truly and clearly gave you exclusive representation of this model, you may have valid claims against both the model, and more importantly, the company that lured her away from you (and thereby interfered with your contractual relationship with the model). I have found in these situations that it is rarely worthwhile to sue only the model (or in most of my cases, actor or singer)---actors, models and singers rarely have sufficient money to pay even if you win the case. Rather, the "deep pocket" may be the agency that lured away your talent.
Note that courts are also very reluctant to issue injunctions requiring that the model stop working for the new agency---courts reason that you are not irreparably harmed because you can be compensated for your loss in money. While as a practical matter this is not always so, it is rare for courts to issue injunctions in cases such as this.
Finally, I hope that you are a properly licensed model or talent agency. In New York, only licensed model agencies or talent agencies (or in some circumstances lawyer/agents) can represent models and book appearances for them. If you are not a properly licensed agency, then you will probably not be able to enforce your contract---which would be deemed illegal. Indeed, the first question I ask any prospective client in a situation like this is whether you are a licensed agency. I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who try to evade the licensing requirement by calling themselves "managers" rather than "agents". If you are not properly licensed (which requires bonding etc), the last thing you want to do is call to the attention of a court (and possibly law enforcement) that you have been engaging in an unlicensed model or talent agency business.