Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cent, has filed a lawsuit accusing a Wall Street law firm of giving him shoddy representation during a protracted legal battle over a deal to market headphones using the rapper’s brand.
50 Cent — who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July — submitted the complaint against Garvey Schubert Barer (GSB) in the Connecticut bankruptcy court on Tuesday seeking a whopping $US75 million in damages.
The rapper claims the law firm did a terrible job representing him while he was dealing with the legal fallout from a failed venture with a company called Sleek Audio. Inspired by the success of Beats by Dre, 50 Cent began working with Sleek in 2010 to create his own brand of headphones called “Sleek by 50.”
Sleek missed its launch deadline and never ended up marketing the headphones, according to 50 Cent’s complaint. The rapper decided to form his own company, SMS Audio, to launch the headphones, and he claims his lawyers at GSB assured him he’d wouldn’t be infringing on intellectual property rights held by Sleek.
Despite GSB’s alleged assurances, Sleek filed an arbitration proceeding against 50 Cent claiming he misappropriated its trade secrets while marketing his own headphones. The arbitrator ultimately awarded Sleek more than $US11 million plus almost $US5 million in attorney fees.
50 Cent accuses the firm’s lawyers of failing to “employ the requisite knowledge and skill necessary to confront the circumstances of the case.” The rapper’s complaint added:
Among GSB’s numerous failures was its inexplicable decision not to call technical and damages experts to rebut expert testimony offered by Sleek — failures relied upon by the arbitrator in crediting Sleek’s experts and entering an eight-figure award in Sleek’s favour.
When he filed for bankruptcy in July, 50 Cent blamed his inability to pay his debts on expensive litigation including the Sleek battle, as the Wall Street Journal noted at the time. Before his bankruptcy, 50 Cent also lost a high-stakes legal battle filed by a woman whose sex tape he published on the internet.
We reached out to the law firm 50 Cent is suing, and we’ll update this post with any comment we receive.
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