'Super bad' heavy metal dispute could be lawsuit of the year

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'Super bad' heavy metal dispute could be lawsuit of the year

Wed May 12, 2010 @ 12:18PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Joey_band Imagine you're an agent representing a photographer who has been hired to do a shoot of a heavy metal band. The company that manages the band wants to meet you in Germany to discuss photos and a "wider collaboration." Do you go?

And oh yeah, the guy you're meeting looks like the one in the picture to the right.

Yasha Young said yes. And what allegedly happened next formed the basis for another lawsuit-of-the-year contender.

We dare you not to chuckle when reading the details of this $5 million lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court.

Young says she represents Annie Bertram, who was contracted by Magic Circle Films, a music management company that the complaint indicates is run by "Joey de Majo." (We think the plaintiff means metal band Manowar bassist Joey DeMaio but we're not 100% sure).

Young says when she arrived in Germany, she was met by Joey's "bodyguard," who ushered her into a taxi that took her to a "seedy, out-of-the-way hotel." Another "bodyguard" brought her to a room and the original "bodyguard" was told to leave. There, she claims she was told she owed the company $25,000 and was instructed to write a check on the spot.

When she asked why she owed money, she allegedly was told that the photos of the band had been posted on the website of a make-up artist. A big no-no in the heavy metal world, apparently.

We'll have to quote the exact language from the complaint for the next part because we can't improve it in any way:

"She was told that once she wrote the check she would be free to leave and that, if she left without making the demanded payment, things would get 'super bad' for Plaintiff. She was also told that she had two options: to either write a check for $25,000.00 and 'make it all go away,' or to be personally sued 'like you have never been sued before,' in which event de Majo said that he would make sure that Plaintiff would 'never be happy again.'"

What was running through Young's head at this moment? Personal safety? Of course. 

But the complaint alleging false imprisonment says she was "terrified by the threat of a meritless lawsuit seeking to hold her responsible for acts that she had not performed" and so she "ran out of the hotel room, terrified that she would be physically or economically harmed."

Has anyone ever run out of a hotel room terrified of economic harm? The lawsuit goes on to say that the defendant's threat of a defamation lawsuit was completely frivolous. That might be true. But if a lawyer decided to write a screenplay that replaced gangsters with heavy metal musicians, this is probably what it would look like.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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