Legal Drama

UPDATE: (Analysis) Brymo Accuses Chocolate City of ‘Bad Faith’ in Settlement Negotiations, Releases Press Statement

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Brymo has accused Chocolate City of what amounts to bad faith in current settlement negotiations, in trying to resolve the dispute between the two. The artist, through his management team, just put out a release which can be found below.

A few comments from me.

1. The parties are scheduled to be back in court this week, actually tomorrow Monday November 11th, 2013.

2. When you negotiate a contract with another person, even when the contract is a settlement agreement, it is implicit that you come to the table to negotiate in good faith. When you don’t, it is bad faith.

3. As it stands, Chocolate City appears to have more of the leverage in settlement negotiations.

4. In the USA, majority of disputes like this do settle. In fact, the statistics typically cited is that  90% of cases filed settle. Why? It is too expensive to litigate.

5. While it is cool for Brymo to release this statement, the truth of the matter is that it does not affect the price of bread. We are in negotiations here. This is where you come to the table with your best of the best and if whomever you have representing you in that room cannot make things happen, then too bad so sad and off you go into court.

6. What you need to do, if you are Brymo’s counsel or representative, is hammer home: a) the costs of litigation. Fighting is expensive and regardless of how rich you are, trust me when I say lawyers do not come cheap, not at all, even if Audu and Yahaya Maikori end up representing themselves through their law firm Law Allianz; b) the bad publicity Chocolate City may get, especially if Brymo hires the right intelligent PR management team who can make a lot of noise that Chocolate City is about to cripple the industry with an arguably very harsh restraint on trade, is not worth it; and c) what you are giving Chocolate City is fair.

Although if you are Brymo, you may need to find one or two extra jara to drop into the settlement offer to make things look  sweeter for Chocolate City.

Basically, you come into that settlement conference or meeting and hammer home their weak points, which you would have carefully studied, and show how your offer makes a lot more sense and is fair.

On the flip side, if you are counsel for Chocolate City, you also hammer home Brymo’s weak points: a) the costs of litigation i.e. your artist cannot afford the costs of defending himself, certainly not when we are through with him. It doesn’t sound like Brymo has hired lawyers just yet. It looks like he is working with his management team who are represented by their own attorneys; b) you ask for as large a concession as you can possibly get i.e. the Son of a Kapenta album and whatever you believe is fair and just for you to have; c) you certainly want to limit the ability of the Brymo team to keep running to the public/media by demanding negotiations be CONFIDENTIAL from the onset to the finish line. If they won’t come to the table with that understanding, you may want to keep it moving. No lawyer wants to deal with the opposite side derailing their attempts to reach a settlement with constant press attention.

For both parties, the settlement negotiations and agreement should include the ability to litigate the claim where there is a breach of the settlement agreement they are now entering into.

Folks, if we have brilliant lawyers in that settlement room and clients (Brymo and Chocolate City) who listen and cooperate with their lawyers, then there is no reason why these two, given the facts, cannot come out with terms that everyone can live with i.e. an amicable CONFIDENTIAL settlement agreement.

Chocolate City would, when the parties meet in court by tomorrow and if all goes well, ask the court to dismiss the case with prejudice (i.e. we ain’t finna file any case against you from now ti ti lai lai (eternity)) on these set of facts.

If they return to court and they believe there is a possibility of settlement, instead of moving forward with the interlocutory injunction they were going to seek tomorrow, they would ask for an extension of time for both parties to work out a settlement agreement, because they are almost there.

This, overall, is good news. It is always good when people sit down and talk things out. I am sure we will hear positive news in the days ahead.

For my prior analysis on the lawsuit itself, click my article: (ANALYSIS) Should Nigerian Record Labels Like Chocolate City Have the Right to Stop Artists Like Brymo From Recording for Others, Where the Artist Breaches the Label Contract?

Cheers,
Uduak

Brymo Accuses Chocolate City of Bad Faith in Settlement Negotiations“On the 30th of October 2013, a meeting was held between Brymo, his Management and representatives of Chocolate City at the Chocolate City office.

This was one of many prior attempts at reaching a mutually acceptable resolution of the conflict between the Artiste and the Record Label.

After deliberations at the meeting, certain terms were agreed between the parties and Chocolate City promised to capture the terms in an agreement to be signed by both parties.

A few days later, Chocolate City sent in a plan with terms which were not reflective of the deliberations and agreements at the said meeting. A similar occurrence had taken place in June when lawyers representing Chocolate City promised to hand Brymo a Statement of Release from the label on the condition that he would give up his (#SonOfaKapenta) album to the label.

The artiste had insisted that Chocolate City has no right to the work as he still possessed the rights to the work and the lawyers had failed to provide the release even after Brymo agreed to give up the said album.

Please note that the artiste’s initial decision to release his work/ earnings was done in good faith and with a desire to reach an amicable settlement. It is becoming apparent that Chocolate City is not acting in the same spirit of good faith.

The artiste elected to sever relationships with Chocolate City in May 2013 when Chocolate City consistently failed to fulfill its obligations under the contract. And rather than resolve amicably, the label is devising strategies to ensure that the Artiste remains unproductive.

Brymo asserts that under the circumstances of the creation, nature, execution and implementation of his contract with Chocolate City, he is well within his rights as an Artiste and if no amicable resolution is reached, will be willing to defend same under the provision of the Law.”

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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4 Comments

  1. Titilope says:

    Amen, I pray so too. Everytime I read your analysis on this issue, I am always at ease. God bless you.

    1. @Titilope – Thank you.

      God bless you too. I hope you have a good week ahead.

      Cheers,
      Uduak

  2. Joseph says:

    Madam are a pro-choc city and we know it. they r only oppressing the youngman. the will not find peace as long as ther continue in this path

    1. @Joseph, on the issue of Brymo walking out on his label and openly admitting he did so without any real basis, I have been pretty straight up that I am not down with that kind of party or move. On the part of Chocolate City obtaining its injunction against Brymo, if I represented the label side of things, I think I would pull a move like that, after I have exhausted all possible options in my client' s interest. It would have the effect of: 1) sending a warning to others; 2) forcing Brymo to come to the table and negotiate like grown people do where there is a dispute, exactly what is happening now. Basically, you are not saying anything new when you say, presumably, that "madam" read to mean me, (is) pro choc city and "know it". I, for the most part, never leave people guessing on my position on issues, even where they are very difficult issues to grasp.

      I do hope both camps resolve the matter for their own interests so they can all move on with their lives.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Cheers,
      Uduak

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