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Jay-Z urged to testify in person as long-running perfume dispute heads to court

By | Published on Monday 4 October 2021


Jay-Z was last week encouraged to testify in person when his long running legal battle with perfume company Parlux finally gets to court in New York later this month.

Fragrance firm 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.

Along the way there were a few other side disputes. One was over whether or not a deposition given by Carter should be filmed. The rapper asked that it not be filmed because of fears any recording might leak. Judge Andrew Borrok declined that request, but agreed to put some extra measures in place to ensure the deposition wasn’t made public.

Another side dispute related to a bunch of emails that Carter deleted after it became clear the perfume company was preparing to go legal. Those emails, Parlux claimed, could have provided additional information about what the rapper was doing when he was meant to be promoting Gold Jay-Z.

The judge agreed that the emails should not have been deleted, but did not agree that the big inbox cull in itself justified declaring a summary judgement in Parlux’s favour. Instead, he said, he would allow “adverse inference” regarding the deleted emails in court, which is to say that the jury will be told about them and can infer that the lost emails would have negatively impacted on Carter’s case.

Borrok re-confirmed that position in a pre-trial hearing about the case last week. It was during that hearing that the judge and the lawyers working on the case discussed how Carter and the boss of Parlux will deliver their respective testimonies once the dispute is properly in court.

Of course, during COVID, witnesses providing their testimonies remotely became much more common. And, according to Law360, Borrok said that he might allow both Carter and the boss of Parlux to testify in that way later this month. However, in-person testimonies would be his preference.

The judge said to Parlux’s lawyers: “You do what you want. But if you’re serious about winning this case, having the president of the company testify remotely, even if I allow it, it’s a terrible look. It’s just a bad look”. And the same applied to Carter, he added.

The big Jay-Z v Parlux bust up is now due to properly arrive in court on 18 Oct.