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Jay-Z criticised over deleted emails in ongoing perfume case

By | Published on Wednesday 28 October 2020


A New York judge has ruled that Jay-Z improperly erased emails relevant to his ongoing dispute with perfume company Parlux and that, as a result, when the case gets properly to court the jury can infer that the lost emails would have hurt the rapper’s case.

Fragrance company Parlux sued Jay-Z – real name Shawn Carter – back in 2016, accusing the rapper of failing to meet his commitments to plug Gold Jay-Z, a perfume that Parlux and Carter launched together.

The case has been slowly working its way through the courts ever since, with Parlux seeking access to Carter’s work diary, in order to assess what he was up to when he was meant to be flogging its perfume. Carter tried his best to not share any of that information, with limited success.

The latest side dispute in the case relates to a load of Carter’s emails that Parlux wanted to read, again to assess what he was up to during the ‘he should have been flogging this bloody perfume’ phase. But, alas, those emails have been deleted.

Parlux argued that the deletion occurred after it had sent a letter outlining its dispute with the rapper which, the fragrance firm reckons, basically put Carter on notice that legal action was likely and therefore instigated a duty on his part to preserve any communications that would be relevant to the litigation.

According to Law360, the judge overseeing the case basically agreed, noting that when Carter received Parlux’s letter he contacted his lawyers, confirming that said letter implied legal action was incoming. The judge also sparred with Carter’s lawyer over whether the deletion of the emails had been a mistake – and therefore “negligence” – or deliberate – and therefore “wilful or wanton behaviour”.

Concluding, the judge declined Parlux’s request for summary judgement in its favour on the basis of the deleted emails, instead concluding that “adverse inference is the appropriate remedy”. That basically means that – assuming the case gets to a full hearing before a jury – said jury will be allowed to infer that the lost emails would have negatively impacted on Carter’s case.