'I'll Sue You!' - Lawsuits in the Fashion Industry

Discussion in 'In the News...' started by Benn98, May 10, 2019.

  1. MON

    MON Well-Known Member

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    They're hinging their claim on the fact that their images/likeness were used for trade... uhm that only applies to superstars.

    Images: if a person uses an image owned by another for purposes of commercial gain. So basically cause of action belongs to the photographer not the model. Like using an Ariana Granda IG photo to sell cereals.

    Likeness: this will be an uphill battle for them. You must be well-known to have a successful likeness claim. If no one knows you, what likeness are we talking about?

    And also, its not as if Vogue marketed it as "WOAH Binx Walton USES THIS! BUY NOW!" This right here would have been using one's image (if attached) and likeness.

    However seemingly its as if Vogue couldn't care less of the models, but just wanted the clothes on their website.

    These models were ill advised. No wonder their agencies didn't support them. As counsel for their agencies, I'd advice the latter to leave them on their own.
     
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  2. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    The benefits of a law tFSer! :clap:

    But what if they've not consented to their picture being taken backstage? Would they have a leg to stand on?
     
  3. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    The Case of the LVMH Letter


    [​IMG]
    Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman, is citing a request from the French government to end his company’s takeover bid for Tiffany.Credit...Christian Hartmann/Reuters
    Sept. 10, 2020
    Updated 7:56 a.m. ET

    Court intrigue in Tiffany’s fight with LVMH

    LVMH declared yesterday that its $16.2 billion takeover of Tiffany was effectively dead, citing a highly unusual request by the French government to delay the closing of the deal. Not surprisingly, Tiffany has sued to force completion, dismissing LVMH’s “baseless, opportunistic attempts to use the U.S. social justice protests and the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid paying the agreed price.” The fight over the deal, agreed to nine months ago, is full of drama, M. & A. machinations and political intrigue.

    BREAKING — LVMH’s latest maneuver: The company plans to bolster its case by claiming that Tiffany has been mismanaged, violating the terms of the deal, in a countersuit expected within days. LVMH also plans to file for E.U. regulatory approval, which the conglomerate believes undermines Tiffany’s argument that it is slow-walking the deal process.

    A key factor in the fight is a French government letter to LVMH. The foreign ministry asked the company not to close the deal until January — well after the transaction’s late November deadline — as France looks to “dissuade the American authorities” from imposing threatened tariffs on luxury French goods. LVMH sent Tiffany a translated copy of the letter, but hasn’t released the French text. (A representative of Tiffany has reviewed the original letter, according to a source.)

    Bloomberg reported that Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman, sought help from the French government in pulling out of the deal. When asked by a reporter whether LVMH requested such help, its C.F.O., Jean Jacques Guiony, said: “You must be joking. Are you seriously suggesting that we procured the letter? I don’t even want to answer that question.” He later said that the letter had arrived unsolicited.

    Whether France really wants to intervene is another matter. It wouldn’t have been the first time — France effectively blocked G.E.’s takeover of Alstom’s train unit, and once deemed Danone yogurt a product of “national importance” after rumors of a bid from Pepsi — but it’s unclear whether Paris has the appetite to use the Tiffany deal as part of its trade fight with the U.S. That said, Reuters, citing a French government source, reported that the letter was meant merely as “advice,” not an order.

    This may get resolved in court. Tiffany’s shares closed down 6 percent yesterday, but their value remains well above pre-deal levels, suggesting that investors expect the deal to end up renegotiated rather than scrapped. Advisers to the American jeweler argue that their lawsuit, filed in Delaware, is strong: They had been preparing for a possible walkout for months. And LVMH has plenty of U.S. assets that they could pursue for damages, they say.

    If the deal dies, what’s Tiffany’s plan B? The pandemic has hit tourism, a key driver of luxury retail, and that comes on top of a long-term decline in marriage rates, which has dampened demand for rings. Despite these challenges, Tiffany renegotiated its debt covenants this summer and beat analysts’ earnings expectations in its latest quarter.

    • If the deal goes down, it would be the second-largest to fail this year, behind Xerox’s aborted $35 billion bid for HP and ahead of the $12.7 billion takeover attempt of Qiagen by Thermo Fisher.

    The New York Times
     
  4. mepps

    mepps Well-Known Member

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    1. LVMH is truly an evil entity, and Bernard Arnault is the devil incarnate.
     
  5. Serend1pity

    Serend1pity Well-Known Member

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    Going up against vogue? Those models are either brave or extremely stupid
     
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  6. MON

    MON Well-Known Member

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    They could, but the cause of action should not be the use of "image and likeness" since that has Intellectual Property implications.

    Maybe they should have anchored their case on the violation of their Constitutional right to privacy.

    Even if that's the case, it will still be an uphill battle for them

    1. Is there an expectation of privacy which society deems reasonable? Of course not, how can you claim that when you're at work? It's not reasonable to raise privacy issues when your job is insanely public and especially when the violation occurred while you're in the performance of that job.

    2. Was there any demands to take the photos down that were left unheeded? This requirement is not mandatory, but it shows good faith on the part of the claimant that even after repeated demands, these were left unheeded. Counsel can make the case that this case is merely a cash grab of sorts
     
  7. MulletProof

    MulletProof Well-Known Member

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    It's kind of sketchy that Moda Operandi opted to crop the faces in the pictures linked in the lawsuit following the notice.

    I have no idea how the legal side of modeling works, and have minimal knowledge about law but one thing I learned after dealing with confidential information related to tv/film production companies/actors/dancers on a regular basis: play it as safe as you can. If you need written authorization for something involving profit (and according to the document, they allegedly do?), most likely you'll need it for any other thing, too.. if you can't obtain a release, take it as a no.

    I know NY is not California (as taught by every New Yorker or British person I ever worked with who rolled their eyes or said something like 'right, I forgot I'm in LA...' as I pedantically made sure they initialed+signed 5-page documents) but: WAIVERS, PEOPLE. They're your best friend. Then you get lawsuits like this.. which might give you the giggles, but they have a decent lawyer...
     
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  8. MON

    MON Well-Known Member

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    These are called CYA Documents! (Cover your A** Documents)

    I agree! even if its not needed, go for it.

    These do not go into the merits of the case/claim but would warrant its dismissal since theres already a waiver!
     
  9. russianelf

    russianelf Well-Known Member

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    Many big names in the lawsuit... And while I'm sure the likes of Binx and Grace Elizabeth will get off scott free, lesser known models' careers might really suffer.
     
  10. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    I hope LVMH get what's coming to them, it's disgusting to try and bully the price down, especially one that had been agreed upon. You don't get to be a businessman like Arnault without being ruthless and bratty.
    But it's somewhat comical to how pressed the Macron administration must be into inject themselves in business acquisitions and the like. This is the second time they've done that. When Chanel moved their operations from NY he went as far as to offer the Wertheimers tax cuts and other benefits if they settled in Paris. Of course they chose London, right in the midst of Brexit and without Theresa May having to lift a finger, so he had to take the L.
    I'm sure the factory LV opened in France late last year was to finesse Macron's ego - he must've felt some sort of way when Vuitton opened a factory in Texas which meant more jobs for Americans. And in the meantime Arnault is laughing all the way to the bank because he's got Macron firmly in his camp if push comes to shove, and he also knows that Trump won't intervene on behalf of Tiffany because that would sour LVMHs plan to open more factories in the US.

    It stinks.
     
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  11. kenndale

    kenndale Well-Known Member

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    They’re all represented by IMG, which I’m sure is the one encouraging this. They want their cut.

    After noticing backstage shots being used as campaigns becoming more and more common, I hope the models who’s shots are used are getting paid extra...
     
  12. ediesedgwick

    ediesedgwick Member

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    Isn’t it a little unnerving that they are backstage photos, where they may not be fully dressed? I didn’t think it was viewed as OK in the modeling world to sell pictures where (a lot of underage) girls are essentially prepping for the job they’re getting paid for that day to do, and are unaware they may be getting photographed? Fair enough if there are photographers, but I think there needs to be a line established about who can do what with whose body/image/brand.
     
  13. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    The models were clothed with most of the images that were actually used, I'm sure. Market research proves that viewers are drawn to backstage photography because just as with street style, it looks more natural and less rehearsed - but still showing/selling a high fashion lifestyle.
     
  14. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Via The Fashion Law:


    Stella McCartney Says Covid Conditions “Voided” its Madison Ave Store Lease in $9 Million-Plus Legal Battle

    January 29, 2021 - By TFL

    Stella McCartney has been embroiled in a legal battle since late last year over the brand’s Madison Avenue store in Manhattan. In the complaint that it filed in a New York state court in November, Mallett, Inc. claims that it entered into a 10-year-long sublease agreement with Stella McCartney’s American arm in 2016 (and a modified agreement in 2019) “covering the basement, ground floor, parlor floor and third floor in the building located at 929 Madison Avenue” in furtherance of which the London-based fashion brand was paying upwards of $1.5 million per year in rent.

    The parties’ arrangement appeared to be working out well until COVID-19 hit, and beginning in April, Mallett claims that Stella McCartney failed to pay its monthly rent and to replenish the security deposit and “cure its default,” prompting Mallett to file suit in November. Setting out a number of contract claims, Mallet asserted that Stella McCartney “wrongfully remains in possession of the subleased premises,” and is “indebted to [Mallett] in the sum of $9,120,420.32,” which is the “aggregate present value of fixed rent and additional rent and all other charges … that would have accrued for the remaining term of the sublease through and including the expiration date” in February 2027.

    On January 8, McCartney responded to Mallett’s complaint, denying the majority of the company’s claims, asserting a number of affirmative defenses (frustration of purpose, failure of consideration, impossibility, commercial impracticability, etc.), and lodging a complaint of its own, as first reported by WWD. At the center of McCartney’s defenses and its countersuit is, of course, the impact of that COVID-19 pandemic has had on its operations of this specific outpost and its business more generally.

    In its declaratory judgment countersuit, McCartney asserts that “the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique and unprecedented circumstances that were unforeseeable – indeed, unimaginable – at the time the sublease was executed,” with the March 2020 shutdowns bringing New York City to “a complete halt and all business and commercial activity to a standstill.”

    “To protect the health and safety of its employees, customers, and the surrounding community, and comply with applicable law,” McCartney says that it “was required to close this store and keep it closed for an extended period of time,” and even in late June when “restrictions were relaxed and non-essential retail businesses were able to reopen,” that reopening was “in a manner drastically different from what was contemplated when the sublease was negotiated.”

    Specifically, McCartney argues that “even though some retail in the Madison Avenue area has reopened, it looks nothing like it did pre-March 2020,” which is significant because its decision to sign the lease for the store and “pay such enormous sums [of rent since 2016] was based on the store’s high-profile location,” and the many “world-renowned flagships and independent boutiques [that] surround the premises” that serve to “make this area of Manhattan one of the world’s most popular luxury shopping destinations,” per McCartney.

    However, while that may have been the reality when it signed the lease, McCartney argues that it can no longer “operate a luxury retail store as originally envisioned given the current environment.” More particularly, the 21-year old fashion company argues that the “purpose in paying a premium rent for the premises in order to obtain the benefits of foot traffic in a luxury shopping district has been completely frustrated by (i) the drastic reduction in foot traffic caused by COVID-19 restrictions, business closures, travel bans, and work-from-home policies; and (ii) the social distancing requirements, which prevent [it] from having more than a fraction of its intended capacity of customers in its store at any given time, and actually discourage potential customers from visiting the retail store.”

    But for the expectation of a thriving retail environment – including a “high-profile location on Madison Avenue and throngs of luxury shoppers” – McCartney asserts that it “would never have agreed to pay over $1.5 million a year in rent for the premises.”

    As such, the pandemic – and corresponding “the COVID-19 executive orders of the Governor of the State of New York, and/or other governmental restrictions” – have prevented McCartney from “occupying the premises and operating its business as contemplated,” and “completely frustrated” the purpose of the sublease, thereby, rendering “the object and purpose of the sublease impossible, illegal, and impracticable.” The result, the LVMH-affiliated brand claims, “is inequitable,” in part because “the parties’ mutual purpose for entering into the sublease has been frustrated, and the consideration [that McCartney] was to receive under the sublease.” Thus, the contract, itself – “has failed,” ultimately, excusing McCartney of its “obligation to perform any of its alleged obligations under the sublease.”

    With the foregoing in mind, McCartney has asked the court, among other things, to declare that as a result of the effects of the pandemic, none of which were caused by the brand, the purpose of the sublease has been frustrated rendering it “void, voidable, or otherwise legally unenforceable,” and that McCartney’s inability to “fully use or occupy or conduct its business from the premises, as originally contemplated under the sublease” translates to a permanent abatement or excusal of its obligations under the contract, which “must be cancelled.”

    Beyond that, McCartney also wants the court to order that Mallett return its “full security deposit as a result of the termination of the sublease,” and pay any relevant interest and attorneys fees.

    The rival lawsuits follow from a number of COVID-centric real estate squabbles, including cases involving Valentino and its Madison Avenue lease, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue and its 143,142 square foot space in Miami’s Bal Harbour Shops, all of which fall neatly in line with what Loeb & Loeb LLP partner and chair of the firm’s Real Estate Litigation practice Gil Feder says is the “biggest trend in real estate litigation right now,” namely, COVID-19 disputes that “arise when a tenant seeks a rent abatement or deferral, relying on COVID-19 as a reason for not being able to pay rent.”

    “COVID-19 has added a whole level of uncertainty to what were otherwise enforceable lease clauses,” per Feder, who notes that “now it is uncertain as to what will be enforceable, making it harder for both landlords and tenants to protect themselves” going forward, and to navigate existing contracts.

    Tenants that have been “able to successfully reopen are more likely to want to stay at their premises, and therefore, are usually seeking short-term help.” However, other tenants, such as those “with a more uncertain economic future, are obviously looking for greater concessions from their landlords,” Feder says. “Indeed, certain negotiations taking place right now involve landlords agreeing to base some of the rent payments on the tenant’s future profitability.”

    While vaccines are being rolled out, giving rise to renewed hope for retail, it has, nonetheless, become clear that “the pandemic is likely to be a longer-term phenomenon,” and as a result, “tenants have increasingly started to call for more fundamental changes to the way retail leases work.” DLA Piper’s Graham Quinn and Micheál Mulvey echo Feder’s sentiment, asserting that “many retailers are calling for a shift from open-market-based to turnover-based rents, with such arrangements – which are usually structured as a combination of a fixed base rent – topped up by a percentage of the turnover generated by the retailer at or in connection with the store.”

    Quinn and Mulvey say that it is “still too early to say how the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will play out.” However, what does seem certain is that “the rigid traditional leasing model is going to need to evolve in a way that demands more flexibility, pragmatism and long-term thinking from landlords,” and ultimately, this means that landlords and tenants “need to start thinking more in terms of their shared interests and work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.”

    The Fashion Law
     
  15. kasper!

    kasper! Well-Known Member

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  16. Cute

    Cute Well-Known Member

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    Posted this earlier in another thread but I guess it also belongs here. Diet Prada is being sued by Dolce & Gabbana for damages and lost revenue. They are being demanded to pay €3 million for Dolce & Gabbana and €1 million for Stefano Gabbana.
    Dolce & Gabbana v. Diet Prada - Fashion Law Institute
     
  17. Cute

    Cute Well-Known Member

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