An expert witness has filed a small claims case against Drake, claiming that the rapper failed to pay his expert witness fees.
The Original Lawsuit
Drake, the Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, and producer, was involved in a legal dispute with the production company, Hebrew Hustle.
On April 16, 2014, Hebrew Hustle and the Estate of James Oscar Smith sued Drake and Cash Money Records, claiming that Drake had infringed upon one of their songs. Hebrew Hustle claimed that Drake willfully infringed their song by using an unapproved sample of the late Jimmy Smith’s 1982 song “Jimmy Smith Rap” on his “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2.”
Drake filed a countersuit. In his suit, Drake claimed that Hebrew Hustle and its founder, Stephen Hacker, had improperly used Drake’s name and likeness to promote his business by implying that he had worked with Drake. The claimed implication was in a line of text on the Hebrew Hustle website. The line at issue, which has since been deleted, read, “[Hacker] played a heavy hand with his clients in the creation of hit songs for the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and others.”
Drake argued that Hacker and Hebrew Hustle had engaged in false endorsement and violated his right of publicity. He also claimed mental distress, claiming that the name of the company “perpetuates stereotypes regarding persons of Jewish heritage, such as [Drake].”
On May 30, 2017, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed with prejudice all the Copyright Claims that Hebrew Hustle and the Estate of James Oscar Smith had filed against Drake.
Expert Witness Testimony
Drake retained CMG Worldwide Founder & Chairman, Mark Roesler, to testify on his behalf in his lawsuit. Roesler has been described as a “dominant force in the evolving intellectual property arena.”
Drake and Hebrew Hustle eventually settled their dispute. According to the agreement, Hebrew Hustle “agreed to compensate [Drake] on confidential financial settlement terms for the False Endorsement and Right of Publicity claims and also to the entry of this consent order.” The parties also agreed that Hebrew Hustle was prohibited from ever using Drake’s name or image on their website.
The agreement provided that: Hebrew Hustle can no longer use Drake’s name, image, and likeness. Drake’s claims were now considered dismissed with prejudice. Each party would pay their own attorney fees and legal costs. The consent order did not prohibit Hebrew Hustle from appealing their case against Drake. In any post-appeal proceedings on copyright claims, each party’s respective legal rights are fully reserved.
Small Claims Filing
This month, Roesler filed a small claims suit against Drake. The expert claims that Drake never paid him the fee that they agreed upon for his testimony that was given at the October deposition.
Roesler claims that he was deposed in October 2018 for over 8 hours. He claims that Drake agreed to pay a $5,312 for Roesler’s services, but he has not received that amount.
Photo Credit: Drake [CC BY 2.0], musicisentropy.