Lizzo, Kali Uchis, Ellie Goulding $6M Lawsuit To Test If COVID Is Legal Grounds To Cancel Concerts
A $6 million lawsuit between Virgin Fest LA and the mighty William Morris Endeavor Agency will test whether concert cancellations due to the coronavirus trigger the force majeure provision found in most concert contracts.
Many festivals, concert promoters and agents have avoided the thorny issue of returning deposits received for artists in recent months by rescheduling rather than full cancellations. Rescheduling can also often avoid expensive ticket refunds.
via Celebrity Access
WME “contends it didn’t have to return the deposits because its artists were ready and willing to play at the event”
VFLA Eventco LLC, the company behind Virgin Fest Los Angeles, which was to have had its inaugural year in 2020, has sued William Morris Endeavor, as well as musicians Lizzo, Kali Uchis and Ellie Goulding, in a bid to recover deposits for performances at the canceled festival.
The festival was due to take place in June, but was canceled along with virtually every other public event due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Law 360, festival organizers claim that William Morris Endeavor contends it didn’t have to return $6 million in deposits because its artists were ready and willing to play at the event.
However, VFLA says a force majeure provision in the agreements signed with artists stipulates that an deposits should be returned in the event that an uncontrollable factor, such as a global pandemic, forces a cancellation of the event, Law 360 reported.
“However, [William Morris Endeavor] refused to return the deposits and insisted that the artists it represents are entitled to keep the deposits — even if the COVID-19 pandemic constituted a force majeure event, even if the governmental orders prevented the festival from proceeding, and even if those orders likewise made it unlawful for their artists to perform on the dates and at the times and places specified in their agreements with VFLA,” attorneys for VFLA said in a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Also named in the suit are three producer defendants — Starry US Touring Inc., which handles touring business for Ellie Goulding; Kali Uchis Touring Inc., which repersents Kali Uchis in touring business; and Lizzo’s Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc.
Through the suit, VFLA is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for conversion, as well as the return of the deposits, as well as restitution and injunctive relief.’