Apr 15, 2024 2 min read

Universal seeks dismissal from another Diddy lawsuit

A lawsuit filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act accusing Diddy of sexual assault named Universal Music as a defendant. In a new filing, the major disputes that it had the necessary connection to Diddy to be liable, and also argues that the lawsuit doesn’t even qualify under the ASA

Universal seeks dismissal from another Diddy lawsuit

Universal Music has submitted a new legal filing with the courts seeking to get itself removed from another lawsuit that accuses Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of sexual assault. It’s the second Diddy lawsuit that the major has responded to in the last month, having previously requested dismissal from litigation filed by producer Rodney ‘Lil Rod’ Jones Jr

In the new filing, Universal argues that it did not owe a duty of care to Combs’ accuser via its connections with the music mogul and singer Aaron Hall, who is also accused of assault in the same lawsuit. Plus, it insists, this litigation was filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, but does not actually qualify to do so.

“Plaintiff alleges that she was sexually assaulted in 1990 by defendants Sean Combs and Aaron Hall during a trip to New York City”, the filing begins. “The complaint’s allegations, if true, are certainly disturbing. But even assuming plaintiff’s claims were timely (which they are not), they have nothing to do with Universal Music Group Recordings”. 

Combs is facing a number of lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault, most filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act. That was a law that provided a twelve month window in which people could file new legal proceedings relating to past incidents of sexual assault that would normally be prohibited by the statute of limitations. 

The ASA specifically related to claims where a victim was over the age of eighteen at the time of the alleged assault. An earlier law in New York state, the Child Victims Act, had already provided an opportunity for those who were allegedly assaulted when they were under the age of eighteen to circumvent the statute of limitations and file new legal proceedings. 

In its filing, Universal notes that Combs’ accuser says she was sixteen when she was assaulted by both the music mogul and Hall after attending a party held by MCA, the record company that became Universal. Therefore, it goes on, she should have filed her claim under the Child Victims Act, the deadline for which was 14 Aug 2021, more than two years before this lawsuit was filed. 

Even if that wasn’t the case, Universal adds, the claim against the major record company should be dismissed anyway, because it did not employ either Combs or Hall. The lawsuit claims Combs was working for “MCA subsidiary” Uptown Records at the time, but - Universal says - while it invested in and provided services to that label, it never owned it, and therefore did not employ Combs. Hall was signed to MCA via the group Guy, but was also not an employee. 

And even if Combs or Hall had been employees of MCA, Universal reckons the claims against it would still fail, because it could only be held liable for the two men’s actions if they were “committed in furtherance of the employer’s business and were within the scope of the employment”. Which they were not. 

To that end, Universal wants the courts to dismiss all the claims made against it in this particular Diddy lawsuit. Its legal filing concludes, “UMGR respectfully requests that the claims against it be dismissed with prejudice, and any other such relief the court deems appropriate”.

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