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Contact: Gregory Berry FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Phone: (646) 380-8115March 20, 2014
JAY-Z LOSES BID TO AVOID DEPOSITIONS;
LOGO INFRINGEMENT SUIT WILL NOW
PROCEED TO DISCOVERY
A Federal Magistrate Judge granted Designer Dwayne Walker’s motion to proceed to discovery and depositions in his lawsuit against Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Universal Music Group for unpaid royalties for the iconic Roc-A-Fella Logo that Walker created in 1995
New York — In a Court Order entered March 20, 2014, a Manhattan federal magistrate judge has granted New York clothing designer Dwayne Walker’s motion to proceed with discovery in his lawsuit against Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Universal Music Group for breach of contract and copyright infringement for failure to pay royalties on the iconic Roc-A-Fella Logo that Walker created for Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella records in 1995. The order clears the way for document production and depositions.
In August of last year, a federal judge denied Jay-Z’s first motion to dismiss Walker’s complaint. Walker then amended his complaint to provide more details of the interactions with Jay-Z and Damon Dash that led to Walker creating the legendary Roc-A-Fella logo in 1995. Faced with the new complaint, Jay-Z dropped his opposition to the contract claim, but nonetheless sought to continue avoiding depositions and other discovery. Today’s decision compels Jay-Z, Dash, and Universal to cooperate with discovery going forward. (The defendants’ new partial motion to dismiss one of Walker’s claims is still pending.)
Gregory Berry, Walker’s attorney, stated, “We are pleased with the court’s order. For over 18 months Jay-Z and the other defendants have done everything they can to avoid swearing under oath to the events that led to the creation of the logo. With the decision today, the defendants’ delay tactics must stop, and Mr. Walker’s quest for justice can move forward.”
In July 2012, Berry filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. The name of the case is Dwayne D. Walker, Jr. v. Shawn Carter (“Jay-Z”) et al, case no. 12-cv-05384(ALC)(RLE).
Dwayne Walker alleges that he met Jay-Z’s former partner Damon Dash in 1995, when Walker was getting started as a clothing designer, and Jay-Z, Dash, and Kareem Burke were forming Roc-A-Fella Records. Walker negotiated with Jay-Z, Dash, and Burke to create a logo and license it to them in return for $3500 and 2% of revenues for ten years after the first year of use. Walker created the iconic Roc-A-Fella Logo, and Jay-Z, Dash, and Burke paid him the $3500, but have failed to pay the 2% royalties they still owe. Walker still owns the copyright on the Logo, which has become intimately tied to the enormous success of Jay-Z.
The Law Firm of Gregory Berry handles copyright and other intellectual property matters, as well as general commercial and business litigation, including contracts, insurance recovery, and appeals, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. The firm’s focus is on aggressive, creative, and cutting edge legal strategies in complex litigation matters. More information is available at http://www.gregoryberrylaw.com.
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