April 12, 2016 | News

Firm succeeds in overturning summary judgment granted to concert promoter where artist relied on force majeure clause that excused his performance and entitled him to retain concert fee

Jonathan D. Davis, P.C. represents a famous R&B artist's loan-out company in a lawsuit filed by a concert promoter in New York Supreme Court for the return of an appearance fee. Promoter claims that the artist failed to appear for a concert in Brussels, Belgium. In ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, the trial court held that the artist's company did not present sufficient proof to demonstrate that the artist's failure to perform at the concert was due to "illness or accident" and awarded judgment in the promoter's favor. In reversing the trial court, the Appellate Division, First Department, found that the promoter did not carry its burden for summary judgment because it "did not establish that [artist] was unable to perform at the concert and was not unable to do so due to sickness." The First Department noted that the promoter's and dissent's reliance on "gaps" in the evidence supporting the loan-out company's defense did not establish "the absence of a genuine issue as to whether artist was ill." It further observed that it was error for the dissent and trial court to completely dismiss the value of the artist's deposition testimony regarding his illness because it is "not the court's function on a motion for summary judgment to assess credibility." The appellate court ruled that "a trial is required."

The Court's decision is available here.