Super producer Kandi Burruss filed a lawsuit against former friend and reality television co-star, Kim Zolciak over the song “Tardy For The Party.” As many of us witnessed, Kandi basically gave life to the song by providing production and some songwriting credits to the once immensely popular song which catapulted Kim Zolciak further into the spotlight.
However, due to claims of non-payment, failure to receive permission before releasing and other disputes regarding the management and promotion of the song, Kandi, with the assistance of her attorney and fellow “Real Housewives of Atlanta” co-star Phaedra Parks, filed a lawsuit for a temporary injunction against Kim’s use of the song and requesting damages for owed compensation.
According to reports, the lawsuit was dismissed from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by US District Judge William Duffey, Jr. Additionally, Judge Duffey ruled that Kandi failed to state/prove her claim of copyright infringement and also noted that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the damages.
What Does This Mean?
As this matter never made it to trial, it appears Kim Zolciak’s team of attorneys filed either a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit or a Motion for Declaratory/Summary Judgment. Both motions are “pre-trial” motions to either get the lawsuit thrown out or declared for a prevailing party on facts presented in the complaint and answer of the petitioner (Kandi) and the respondent (Kim).
If the suit was dismissed “without prejudice” (i.e. – thrown out with Kandi getting nothing due to lack of jurisdiction) she actually may be able to bring the lawsuit again in the correct jurisdiction. However, if it was dismissed “with prejudice” then Miss Kandi is just out of luck.
According to other reports, Kim Zolciak provided evidence that she did in fact paid Kandi for the song. There appears to have been no written agreement between the two regarding credits, royalty splits or publishing.
How Does This Affect You?
As with any working relationship, especially as a freelancer, it is imperative that you get everything in writing and get your money up front. Kandi is a smart girl; therefore, I am shocked that this opportunity was given to Kim without proper execution of paperwork and without requesting an advance of some sort.
I am certain that despite her hit-making capabilities, Kandi probably did not think that this song would blow up the way it did.
Lesson: Do favors for nobody. Have a properly executed agreement in place and get your money up front.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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