A panel of appellate
judges recently denied TVT Records’ appeal against Island Def Jam Music
Group (IDJMG) and its former CEO, Lyor Cohen, ending a legal dispute over rapper
Ja Rule and his Cash Money Click.
TVT originally accused IDJMG
and Cohen of unsavory business tactics and fraud, over an unreleased album by
Ja Rule’s group Cash Money Click.
The group released material with TVT before Ja Rule and Irv
Gotti were under contract with IDJMG.
Ja Rule signed with TVT in 1993 and was released from the contract
in 1998, when Irv Gotti created his Murder Inc. imprint.
TVT claimed that IDJMG
and Cohen sabotaged the Cash Money Click album by blocking the release.
In March of 2003, a jury awarded TVT $132 million in punitive
and compensatory damages against IDJMG,
finding Cohen personally responsible for $56 million in damages.
Upon announcement of the verdict, TVT president Steve Gottlieb
called the verdict a “vindication for independent businessmen in every
Cohen’s lawyers said Gottlieb was “not entitled
to a windfall" and vowed to appeal the jury’s decision.
“We disagree with the verdict,” Cohen said in a
statement. “Since the jury was not allowed to consider all of the evidence
presented in the case, we are confident that when they do, we will prevail."
In September 2003, Cohen’s punitive damages were cut from $56
million dollars to $3 million, while IDJMG
was ordered to pay $50 million dollars.
After that verdict, Cohen’s attorney Matthew Dontzin predicted
that any judgment against his client was “doomed to failure” and
stated the decision would be appealed.
In June of 2005, The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals found
that TVT’s claims of unsavory business tactics, including the charge of
fraud, were without merit.
“In reversing the findings of liability, fraud and the
related damages, the court has specifically found that there was no credible
evidence to support the outrageous claims against Mr. Cohen," Cohen’s
lawyers stated shortly after the victory.
TVT was awarded $126,720 for a breach of contract claim which
and Cohen did not appeal.
Cohen left IDJMG
in Jan. 2004 to assume the role of CEO of Warner Music Group.