Shapiro Arato Bach Wins Second Dismissal for Akon in Breach of Contract Case

On June 30, 2022, Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York County Supreme Court ruled for Shapiro Arato Bach client Aliaune Thiam p/k/a Akon and dismissed two causes of action brought by Upfront Megatainment, Inc. and Darrick Stephens in a breach of contract lawsuit over Akon’s obligation to pay plaintiffs certain monies only while in a record cycle with a “major record label.” This is the second time Shapiro Arato Bach won dismissal of these same causes of action.

In the Amended Complaint, plaintiffs alleged facts contradictory to the facts they alleged in their original Complaint regarding whether a record company that distributed Akon’s recordings was a “major record label.” Shapiro Arato Bach filed a motion to dismiss arguing that plaintiffs were bound by their prior judicial admissions—consistent with recognized music industry standards—that the company was not a “major record label.”

The Court rejected plaintiffs’ arguments that their prior admissions were not dispositive and were, instead, entitled to just evidentiary weight. The Court also rejected plaintiffs’ reliance on the so-called prevention doctrine to preclude Akon from relying on the “major record label” condition in the parties’ agreement.

The Motion to Dismiss and Reply papers can be read here and here.

The decision can be found here.