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Music-centric finance firm removes HarbourView from its lawsuit against Pras

By | Published on Monday 27 February 2023


An American music-centric finance firm that sued Pras and investment outfit HarbourView over a big old rights acquisition deal has requested that the latter be removed from the litigation. The amendment to the lawsuit seems to have been made because of jurisdiction issues.

HarbourView, one of those equity funds buying up music rights, announced a deal with Pras last July. It seemingly acquired the musician’s royalty rights stemming from his past deals with Sony Music that covered the Fugees’ output and his 1998 solo album.

However, Open On Sunday LLP – which allows artists and songwriters to access upfront cash secured on their music rights – claims that it loaned Pras money at the start of last year secured on those Sony royalties.

When he subsequently failed to meet his obligations under the loan agreement, Open On Sunday began legal proceedings which included foreclosing on the assets the loan was secured on, ie the Sony royalties. It was then that they discovered Pras had sold those assets to HarbourView.

Prior to all that, Pras had tried to persuade Open On Sunday to amend his loan agreement so that it would be secured on a book deal rather than his Sony royalties, but the finance firm declined to make any such amendment.

However, a lawsuit filed in October claimed, Pras and his legal team forged a release document showing that Open On Sunday had agreed to accept the theoretical book deal as security on the loan, and then used that to convince HarbourView that it could acquire the musician’s royalty rights.

Open On Sunday’s lawsuit targeted Pras and his lawyers, and also HarbourView itself which, the litigation claimed, should have done more due diligence before doing its deal with the ex-Fugee, instead of “eagerly accepting a release that they knew or should have known was forged”.

According to Law360, HarbourView sought to have itself dismissed from the lawsuit last month, partly because the claims regarding what it knew or should have known about the allegedly faked documents are not supported by the facts, but also because of jurisdiction issues.

Open On Sunday filed its lawsuit in its home state of Georgia. But New Jersey-based HarbourView argued that it has no presence in Georgia, doesn’t do any significant business in the state, and didn’t agree its deal with Pras there.

The plaintiff has seemingly acknowledge those specific issues and that the court in Georgia likely does not have jurisdiction over HarbourView. As a result it has asked for the investment outfit to be removed as a defendant on the lawsuit.

The case against Pras and his lawyers continues. Though the targeted lawyers are also trying to get themselves dismissed from the litigation, either on jurisdiction grounds, or because of lacking evidence regarding their supposed awareness of the alleged fraud.