2:29pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Judge Dismisses Fraud Lawsuit Over 50 Cent's "P.I.M.P."
A producer who claims he was duped into signing over rights to a sample used in the song "P.I.M.P." won't be getting a penny out of rapper 50 Cent.
Brandon Parrott sued 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) in June, claiming he gave up his rights to a track called "BAMBA" as a result of fraud. Parrot also sued producer Denaun Porter, attorney Zach Katz, UMG Recordings, Interscope, Aftermath Records, Shady Records and EMI Music Publishing — essentially everyone involved with the song.
Parrott and Porter co-produced "BAMBA," and Parrott claims Porter told him it was a mistake that he wasn't initially credited as a producer on "P.I.M.P." and that they failed to get his permission to use the track.
The labels moved to dismiss the suit in September, arguing that the terms of an earlier settlement — which secured Parrot royalties and shared ownership in the track — dictate that he can't sue.
In an opinion filed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero dismissed the complaint without leave to amend.
It is undisputed that Parrott granted the rights to "BAMBA," so the key question before the court was whether he was fraudulently induced to do so. Otero found that Parrot's fraud claim was not only time-barred but also deeply flawed — failing on the justifiable reliance standard that is necessary to prevail.
"[No] reasonable music composer in Parrott's position could have relied 'in good faith' upon a co-producer's statements that the composer's music had 'mistakenly' been incorporated into millions of infringing tracks without anyone notifying or crediting him," writes Otero. "Moreover, assuming the truth of Parrott's FAC [first amended complaint], as the Court must at this stage, the only plausible inference is that Parrott failed to conduct any investigation in the truth behind Porter's statements. Thus, Parrott's own allegations defeat his claims."
Further, Otero notes that there are no factual allegations presented to support a fraud claim against the labels. Because Parrott's fraud claims fail, his copyright infringement claims do, too, as the rights to "BAMBA" were transferred in the initial settlement and co-producer agreements.
Otero also found that Erica Tucker, Parrott's business manager who was also listed as a plaintiff, lacks standing to sue and dismissed her as a party.
The labels are represented by Andrew Bart and Daniel Rozansky of Jenner & Block. Katz is represented by Kenneth Freundlich.