Chrisette Michele, Def Jam Heading To Court Over $20 Million Dollar Lawsuit
A $20 million dollar lawsuit against Def Jam involving R&B singer Chrisette Michele will proceed through the courts, it was recently ruled.
Judges for the New York Supreme Court rejected the label's request to dismiss the lawsuit on December 7th, paving the way for a courtroom showdown between production company Four Kings Productions Inc. and Island Def Jam.
Douglas "Biggs" Ellison filed the lawsuit against Island Def Jam Music Group, Shalik Berry (A&R) and Michele's parents Lynette and Lemuel Payne in June of 2008.
Ellison claims the defendants engaged in unlawful business practices, in an attempt to get Michele out of her exclusive contracts with his Queens-based production company, Four Kings Productions Inc.
Michele, who is featured on Rick Ross' current #2 hit single "Aston Martin Music," set the court proceedings in motion in July of 2007, when she filed a lawsuit against Four Kings Productions.
The original lawsuit claimed that Four Kings' CEO, Ellison, embezzled money from her Def Jam contract and harassed her.
While Michele eventually withdrew those allegations from her lawsuit, Ellison claims that his reputation was severely damaged when the accusations hit the press.
Four Kings claims it entered into an agreement with Def Jam in September of 2005 and completed multiple songs, which appeared on Michele’s debut album, I AM.
"As soon as the artist’s mother saw that Chrisette was receiving money, all a direct result of the efforts of the production company under its contracts with the artist, Lynette Payne quit her job as a teacher and, in willful disregard of the artist’s contractual obligations to Four Kings, usurped management functions regarding her daughter’s newly found success, in an effort to keep the money in the family," Ellison claims in the lawsuit.
A representative for Chrisette Michele dismissed the lawsuit shortly after it was filed in 2008.
Her publicist Rochelle Brown claimed that Michele's relationship with Ellison turned romantic, after the two met while the singer attended 5 Towns College in Long Island.
"This is just a case of the jilted lover and gold digging manager getting caught," her publicist Brown said June of 2008. "The Payne's and Mr. Berry did not unlawfully try to get Chrisette out of her contract with Four Kings. Mr. Ellison's devious plot to exploit and rip Chrisette off began to be revealed."
In addition to Rick Ross, Chrisette Michele has worked with rappers like Ghostface Killah, Nas and Jay-Z.