Khalifa’s Law Schooling
During a featured Q&A in the May issue of Esquire, Khalifa said: “Right now, I’m learning to sue people and get my money. After talking to people who work for Donald Trump – smart, successful people – I’ve realized I gotta go after all that.”
There’s a difference between going after and getting “all that.” And, as a Virginia federal judge let him know in an April 9 ruling, the first thing you need is an enforceable contract before you can accuse someone of breaching it.
The lack of a signed, enforceable contract led U.S. District Judge Cacheris to dismiss a $1 million suit Khalifa filed against It’s My Party, Inc. and co-founder Seth Hurwitz after I.M.P. canceled a concert scheduled Dec. 9 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.
The judge ruled the contract was unenforceable because it was never signed and it was clear Hurwitz didn’t intend to sign it without a new album release by Khalifa to goose ticket sales for the 7,000-capacity show.
Khalifa was expected to release a new album, O.N.I.F.C., during the fall, and tour in support of it after release. According to court documents, “I.M.P. declined to execute the contract until the album was released” and, in fact, had “emphasized that it would not finally commit to this date until the album was released.”
As a result, “I.M.P. and The Agency Group mutually agreed to reschedule the tentative date for [Khalifa’s] Patriot Center appearance at the end of the tour – specifically Dec. 6, 2012 – to afford…additional time to release the album.”
The album was released Dec. 4, too late for I.M.P., which had already withheld a $42,500 deposit due a month prior – uncontested by TAG – and pulled the plug on the concert just days earlier.
In its defense, the promoter told the court that its “assessment of the concert’s anticipated ticket sales proved to be correct and that sales ‘tanked’ in the absence of the album release.”
The contract being passed between Hurwitz and Khalifa’s agent, Peter Schwartz, contained specific language requiring signatures, and neither Hurwitz nor Khalifa signed the final draft.
According to court documents, TAG made no claim for the missed deposit, despite tickets having gone on sale. And despite a dispute resolution clause in the unsigned agreement, no attempt to go to arbitration was made.
But Khalifa sued Hurwitz and I.M.P., claiming his reputation had been damaged to the tune of $1 million by the cancellation. The Agency Group was not named in the suit.
Judge Cacheris disagreed, saying Khalifa failed to produce enough evidence to prove a valid contract existed that could be breached, let alone cause his reputation to suffer.