Artist News Legal

Fat Joe sues insurer for failing to pay for his defence in copyright dispute

By | Published on Tuesday 9 July 2019

Fat Joe

American rapper Fat Joe – real name Joseph Cartagena – has sued a New York insurance company for refusing to cover his legal costs in a copyright infringement lawsuit over his 2016 Remy Ma collaboration ‘All The Way Up’.

Cartagena was sued by another rapper – Fly Havana, real name Eric Elliott – back in March this year. Elliott claims that Cartagena’s ‘All The Way Up’ is simply an evolution of a track of the same name that he had produced a year earlier. Elliott says he collaborated with Infrared on his original recording, who then also guested on the version Cartagena released.

For his part, Cartagena hasn’t denied Elliot’s involvement in creating his track. He previously referenced Elliot’s contribution in an interview and, legal papers say, after its release he paid the other rapper a $5000 fee while also promising additional future royalties. But, Elliot says, those royalties never materialised, and now he wants the courts to confirm he was a co-creator on the record, and is therefore due a co-write credit and formal royalty share.

It was when Elliott went legal in March that Cartagena turned to the Homeland Insurance Company, hoping to rely on a relatively new insurance policy that covered any liabilities related to his professional music career. The insurers, he assumed, would foot the legal bill for fighting Elliott’s lawsuit.

But no. Instead, the insurance company seemingly accused the rapper of having withheld important information when purchasing his insurance policy – which came into effect in January – about an ongoing situation that would likely result in a claim. It then also added that a copyright action of this kind wasn’t covered by the insurance policy anyway.

But these reasons for not covering Cartagena’s legal costs are “all patently false”, the rapper said in a lawsuit filed against the insurance firm this week. According to Law 360, his legal papers add that: “Homeland has wrongfully denied coverage for this clearly-covered claim … the conduct by Homeland is despicable and outrageous”.

Dealing with the insurance firm’s specific claims, Cartagena says that he could not have foreseen Elliot’s litigation, having assumed that, by taking the $5000 fee, his fellow rapper would not be making any future claims over ‘All The Way Up’. And, he adds, copyright infringement actions are covered by the insurance policy he bought.

Homeland is yet to respond to Cartagena’s lawsuit. It’s also not clear whether the rapper expects the insurer to cover his costs in pursuing legal action over the insurer’s refusal to cover his costs in pursuing legal action. Maybe there’s a totally different insurance firm he could sue over that.