A Richmond federal judge has dismissed a tortious interference suit filed by the management company that signed Brown as a teen.
Brown’s mother, Joyce Hawkins, signed fee assignment and exclusive management agreements with plaintiff Boy Blue in 2002 when Brown was still a minor, according to Judge Henry Hudson’s Sept. 16 opinion in Boy Blue Inc. v. Zomba Recording LLC. The agreements authorized Boy Blue to manage Brown in exchange for a percentage of his gross income.
In December 2004, according to Boy Blue’s complaint, Hawkins and Brown signed a recording contact with defendant Zomba, a division of Sony, and Hawkins served notice on Boy Blue that Brown was disaffirming his management agreement with Boy Blue. Boy Blue sued, alleging Zomba and Sony knew about and interfered with the prior management contracts.
This bare allegation, without supporting detail, did not survive scrutiny under federal pleading rules.
Boy Blue’s recitation of the elements of a claim for tortious interference with contract, with the defendants’ names inserted as the offending party, offered “simply sterile legal conclusions” not entitled to the assumption of truth, Hudson said.
On a point the court said is disputed in Virginia’s circuit courts, Hudson said a tortious interference claim has a five-year, not a two-year statute of limitations.
By Deborah Elkins