Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Court Again to Decide if Carly Simon Has 'Grounds' for Suit Against Starbucks

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24:  Carly Simon signs cop...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
There's Anticipation by 64-year-old singer Carly Simon that her amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of the Western Division of California against coffee colossus Starbucks will have a more favorable outcome than her first go-around.

Simon originally sued Starbucks for failing to promote her 2008 album, This Kind of Love, when the java giant decided to quit the music business five days before the album's scheduled release. Simon had contracted with Hear Music, a Starbucks subsidiary that provided Starbucks with CDs to distribute in its stores. A judge granted summary judgment to Starbucks in April, holding that the songstress, whose career shone most brightly in the '70s, had failed to prove the defendant made fraudulent representations or withheld information to mislead her into signing the dotted line with Hear Music.  However, the judge allowed Simon the chance to amend her complaint, and the Mockingbird warbler showed she was still spoiling for a fight.

The amended complaint filed in late April (Carly E. Simon v. Starbucks Corporation, Case No.cv09-09074GW) seeks $5 million to $10 million in damages, alleging tortious interference with contract, concealment of material facts, and unlawful, unfair & fraudulent business practices. Simon claims a Starbucks veep promised his company would aggressively promote and distribute her album.

Starbucks filed its answer last month, arguing among other things, that Simon's contract specifically holds Starbucks harmless for any actions taken by Hear Music, that Simon failed to show any representations made to her at the time the contract was signed were false or intended to deceive, and that the facts of the case don't warrant "piercing the corporate veil" to allow the singer to get at parent company Starbucks.

To champion her cause, Simon has enlisted 69-year-old litigator David Boies, whose past clients have included George Steinbrenner, Napster, William Westmoreland, and Al Gore in the post-2000 election Gore v. Bush dust-up.  As Simon sang on more than one occasion, Nobody Does It Better.

The odds are still against Simon, but even if her second skirmish with Starbucks comes up short, she might consider penning a single about her Starbucks litigation experience.  "TUOL" suggests calling the song You're So Vente.

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