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Lawsuit against Mariah Carey over cancelled shows dismissed

By | Published on Friday 31 August 2018

Mariah Carey

A judge in New York has dismissed a case being pursued by a South American concert promoter against Mariah Carey, although litigation targeting her company Mirage will be allowed to proceed.

This relates to shows that were due to take place in Argentina and Chile in October 2016. The concerts were cancelled with just days to go, with Carey saying that she pulled out of the shows because the promoter had failed to make good on its payment commitments.

Mirage sued promoter FEG Entretenimientos first, arguing that Carey and her crew couldn’t have been expected to travel to Argentina and Chile on the promise of payment, especially when past promises had been broken. Mirage also argued that having to cancel the shows so late in the day had damaged Carey’s reputation and meant that she’d lost out on other possible revenue generating work.

It said in a legal filing with the Californian courts in January 2017: “In the music industry everyone knows the familiar story of the deceitful promoter that promises to pay and fails to deliver. This lawsuit is filed in part not only to confirm the multiple breaches of the contracts by FEG … but to warn the artistic community not to trust any promises from FEG”.

For its part, the promoter managed to get the case shifted to New York and then filed its own counterclaims. It argued that it had paid nearly 75% of Carey’s agreed fee and that, while it was behind on payments, this was customary in its business, and the singer would have received all the monies she was due had she gone ahead with the shows. The promoter also said Mirage had given no indication that it was planning on pulling the plug because of the late payments.

In its countersuit FEG sued not only Mirage but also Carey directly, arguing that the business – with which FEG had its contracts – was just an “alter-ego” for the star. It also claimed that Carey defamed FEG in a tweet linking to a E! News story about the last minute cancellations, in which she wrote “devastated my shows in Chile, Argentina and Brazil had to be cancelled. My fans deserve better than how some of these promoters treated them”.

However, according to Law 360, this week New York judge William Pauley threw out the claims against Carey herself. He said allegations that Mirage was an “alter-ego” for Carey were “too weak” to hold her personally liable for the company’s contracts. Meanwhile the tweet, he said, simply expressed an opinion.

Noting that FEG’s defamation claim related just to the words of the tweet, not statements made in the E! News story she linked to, he said: “Viewed in context, Carey tweeted an opinion. What Carey’s fans ‘deserve’ and whether they ‘deserve better’ than how some promoters ‘treated them’ is conjectural and vague”.

However, Pauley said that FEG’s case against Mirage could proceed. Because while the latter had presented emails that it said showed it acted in accordance with its contract with the promoter when cancelling the shows, the judge reckoned the wider litigation couldn’t be resolved based on that correspondence alone.