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Lil Wayne’s legal battle with former manager dismissed on jurisdiction grounds

By | Published on Monday 18 October 2021

Lil Wayne

A lawsuit filed against Lil Wayne by his former manager and legal advisor has been dismissed on jurisdiction grounds, although new litigation could as yet be filed in another US state.

Ron Sweeney worked with Wayne from 2005 through to 2018 providing both management and legal services. During that time the rapper had a long-running and complicated dispute with his label Cash Money and its business partner Universal Music, which Sweeney helped his client to navigate.

Wayne also had two childhood friends involved in his business affairs, Cortez Bryant, who acted as his manager, and Mack Maine, who ultimately became President of Young Money, the Lil Wayne-led label that operated as an imprint of Cash Money. In his lawsuit, filed last last year, Sweeney said that while he provided management services alongside Bryant and Maine, because they had limited music industry experience he often ended up “managing the managers”.

Along the way, Sweeney claimed in his legal filing, he agreed various commission payments with Wayne, especially when the rapper’s legal battle with Cash Money caused cash flow problems, which meant the lawyer had to work for free for a time. In total, Sweeney said he was due a 10% management commission, plus 10% of any legal settlement in the Cash Money dispute and 10% of any monies generated if the rapper ever sold the Young Money catalogue, which he did last year.

On top of that, Sweeney added – in May 2018 – Wayne basically sacked Bryant as his manager, because Bryant was separately suing Cash Money through his company Aspire Music Group, which created a conflict of interest. At that point, Sweeney claimed, he ramped up the management services he was offering and negotiated a 17% management commission in return.

However, a few months after sacking Bryant and upgrading his partnership with Sweeney, Wayne then sacked his manager/lawyer. This, Sweeney claimed, was because of an intervention by Bryant and Maine, who “conspired together to drive a wedge between Lil Wayne and plaintiffs by, among other things, making false and misleading statements to Lil Wayne about plaintiffs”.

Wayne, who had previously accused Sweeney of overcharging him for his legal services, sought to have the lawsuit against him dismissed on jurisdiction grounds. The litigation had been filed in California, but lawyers for the rapper argued that Wayne’s primary base is Florida, while Sweeney’s operations are run out of New York, so therefore the legal battle was being fought in the wrong state.

And, according to Pitchfork, last week the judge overseeing the case agreed, dismissing the case without prejudice. That means Sweeney could as yet re-file his lawsuit, though probably with the courts in Florida or New York.