H.E.R. has filed a lawsuit against record label MBK Entertainment, owned by her longtime manager Jeff Robinson who she has been signed with since 2011.
According to reports, H.E.R. — real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson — filed the suit in California and accused MBK Entertainment "for declaratory relief and violation of the business and professions code." The documents allegedly state that Wilson is an "exclusive employee" for the "initial period" that “ended the later of 15 months after May 19, 2011, or 12 months after the commercial release in the United States of Wilson’s first album under the contract, and up to five additional Option Periods of more than one year each.” She understood that the contract meant she was an "exclusive employee" of the label "past the current date [May 19, 2011] and potentially until much longer, as each Option Period is keyed to a commercial release by MBK of a record album."
In addition, H.E.R. also claims that Robinson, as her manager, fired the legal team that represented her and that replaced them with his attorneys. Those lawyers, however, "took 5% of the deals they negotiated, but did not have a written fee agreement or a conflict waiver signed by Wilson, and said that they performed the services ‘as a favor’ to their client Robinson who was paid 20% commission for each of those deals.”
The record label has supposedly "significantly limited" H.E.R.'s "employment rights" by not allowing her "to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK," as well as "exclusively owned the right to exploit her name and likeness for her recordings.”
The suit's filing in California stems from Wilson recording most of her material in the state, however she notes that she "is informed and believed" that the label is based out of New York. H.E.R wants to be released from her contract under the claim that it forces her to work "beyond seven years after May 19, 2011" which allegedly violates California Labor Code 2855, also known as the "Seven Year Rule" that "prohibits the enforcement beyond seven years of a contract (such as the Agreement) to render services of a special, unique, extraordinary or intellectual character.”
Wilson is now seeking a “judicial declaration that the Agreement is voidable and may not be enforced against Plaintiff under California law to the extent it purports to require Plaintiff’s services after May 18, 2019." The lawsuit reportedly read that “Wilson’s seven years have run" and that "MBK’s attempts to thwart this important and fundamental California public policy should not be condoned.”
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