Jay-Z won’t pay perfume company’s $68M breach of contract suit

Jay-Z won't pay perfume company's $68M breach of contract suit

A Manhattan jury Wednesday decided that Jay-Z shouldn’t have to pay up in a $68 million lawsuit accusing him of failing to uphold his end of a deal to promote his eponymous fragrance.

The jury found that damages shouldn’t be paid on either side of the dispute between the 51-year-old “Empire State of Mind” rapper and perfume company Parlux over allegations that Jay-Z breached a 2012 contract in failing to promote cologne Gold Jay Z.

Jay-Z — dressed in a black suit, black tie and sun glasses — took off his mask and left the courtroom while smiling and raising his hands happily.

Parlux had been seeking $68 million in damages while Jay-Z brought counterclaims for over $2.7 million in royalties. But the jury found that neither side should have to pay the other.

Justice Andrew Borrok told lawyers on both sides, “You failed to prove your case, they failed to prove their case. That’s the outcome.”

The jurors — four men and two women — delivered the verdict after just over two hours of deliberations at the third week of trial in Manhattan Supreme Court where the “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” rhymer testified for two days.

Jay Z’s “Gold” fragrance was reportedly worth $20,000 and featured an 18-karat gold cap.
Jay Z’s “Gold” fragrance featured an 18-karat gold cap.

“I’d like to express my gratitude to the jury, especially during these difficult times,” Jay-Z told The Post through a rep after.

The decision comes after Jay-Z lost his bid Monday to start an online sports betting company with Fanatics and Barstool Sports after allegations surfaced against Barstool founder David Portnoy of unwanted and violent sex. The state gaming commission said the rejection of Jay-Z’s bid was unrelated to the accusations against Portnoy.

During closing arguments Tuesday, Parlux lawyer Anthony Viola told jurors that, “Parlux ended up with a celebrity fragrance line where the celebrity disappeared.”

Parlux sued in 2016 claiming that Jay-Z — whose real name is Shawn Carter — and his company S. Carter Enterprises LLC broke their agreement when he failed to show up for the 2014 Gold Jay Z launch at Macy’s and failed to make promotional spots on “Good Morning America” and in Women’s Wear Daily.

Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, is seen leaving after testifying at 60 Centre St on November 1, 2021 in New York. CarterÕs company is being sued for his alleged failure to promote a branded fragrance.
Jay-Z testified to Manhattan Supreme Court jurors that he “always had problems with the quality of the lazy work that was coming from Parlux.”
Alec Tabak

Carter countersued, claiming he is still owed $2.7 million by Parlux in the deal.

“Parlux invested $29 million into that venture. It upheld its end of the bargain,” Viola argued. “The defendants didn’t uphold their end of the bargain.”

“If the defendants had fulfilled the contract, if they have upheld their end of the bargain, Parlux would have had a runaway success,” Viola said. “We would have netter $67.6 million in net profits.”

Jay-Z smiles leaving the courtroom after he and his company were found not liable in the matter for a breach of contract alleged by Parlux.
Jay-Z smiles leaving the courtroom after he and his company were found not liable in the matter for a breach of contract alleged by Parlux.
Alec Tabak

Jay-Z’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, told jurors during his closing arguments that his client didn’t want the cologne to fail noting that he had a year to make promotional appearances and that showing up to the launch wasn’t required under the agreement.

“Why on Earth would Jay-z put his name on one product and only one product in his entire career if he wanted that product to fail? Why? And that’s a question they will never be able to answer because there is no answer.”

Spiro told jurors that while Jay-Z may not have remembered everything during his testimony “but he was truthful and raw and he passed the truthfulness test.”

Jay-Z leaves Manhattan Civil Court at 60 Centre Street, New York after closing arguments on November 9, 2021.
Jay-Z leaves Manhattan Civil Court at 60 Centre Street, New York after closing arguments on November 9, 2021.
Gregory P. Mango

Spiro said his client had his guard up because “He didn’t like getting sued, he didn’t like what they did to his products…, he didn’t like what he felt was a shakedown, he didn’t like being called a defendant, he didn’t like being put in that box, he didn’t like the way he was being spoken to and he didn’t like what he felt were tricks.”

The Brooklyn-born “99 Problems” rapper — who married music superstar Beyoncé in 2008 — repeatedly exchanged barbs with Viola during questioning when Jay-Z admitted that he hadn’t read the contract that he signed with Parlux.

“Hey man, I’m not a lawyer,” the hip hop star said to Viola when asked about the contract that he personally signed twice.

“At the time you signed this contract, you did not know that you personally would have obligations separate and distinct of your company?” Viola asked.

“I’m not a lawyer,” Jay-Z repeated. “All I can say is I have creative control over what I do with myself and my body. No, I did not read the contract.”

When questioned by his own lawyer Jay-Z disputed the notion by Viola that he “constantly threw sand in the gears” when it came to the success of the cologne.

“If I hurt Parlux and I hurt Gold Jay Z — they are in my name.”

“I’m not going to cut off my nose to spite my face,” Jay-Z said.

“It was a tough relationship but I was still trying to create something amazing.”

Additional reporting by Ian Mohr

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