Kendall Jenner, Society Model Management and Elite World want the $ 1.8 million contract case brought against them for an ad campaign gone wrong, with the model’s agency and her parent company arguing in a new memo service in support of their motion to dismiss that the lawsuit that Liu Jo SPA filed this summer in federal court in New York is nothing more than an “unwarranted” attempt by the Italian fashion label to ” evade its contractual obligations after unilaterally terminating a negotiated agreement [with Jenner] in direct violation of the express terms of this agreement.
In the motion to dismiss and the corresponding supporting note they filed on September 17, Society Model Management and Elite World (the “defendants”) argue that the case – which arose out of a deal Jenner reached in July 2019 with Liu Jo to appear in his Spring / Summer 2020 and Fall / Winter 2020 print ad campaigns – should be dismissed in its entirety. Setting the stage in their case, Society and Elite argue that it is actually Liu Jo who is wrong under the deal, because “in light of the rapidly developing emergency [COVID-19] situation in Italy, Liu Jo requested a long postponement of the second filming “in March 2020, which Jenner agreed to” even if this meant that Liu Jo’s use of her name, image and likeness would be extended, forcing thus [her] pass on other valuable opportunities.
Shortly after, the agencies claim that “Liu Jo unreasonably tried to pressure Ms Jenner to show up for an in-person shoot in Europe as COVID-19 numbers in Italy soared in the middle from the turmoil of the global pandemic ”. Jenner “continued to try to work with Liu Jo to reschedule the second shoot subject to her availability and taking into account appropriate security considerations,” but the agency’s defendants claim that “Liu Jo attempted a bait and a change … to force an outcome that was ruled out by the term sheet “trying” to completely cancel the second shoot and the contract by notifying Ms Jenner that they had changed their marketing strategy and requested that Ms Jenner appear at the place in a different campaign for a different fashion brand “.
“But a model is not a fungible commodity to be traded between fashion brands without its consent,” argue the defendants, claiming that Liu Jo ultimately “claimed to unilaterally cancel the agreement in direct violation of its clear terms,” which prohibited the cancellation of the contract. case by Liu Jo, “then sued Ms. Jenner and Kendall Jenner, Inc. for alleged breach of a contract that Liu Jo himself had postponed, disowned and canceled.
Failure to report complaints
Seeking to have the case dismissed out of court, the defendants claim that Liu Jo did not properly formulate the claims against them in connection with the breach of the agreement with Jenner. Counsel for the two defendant modeling agencies maintains that Liu Jo makes three claims against them – breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair use, and unjust enrichment – but all three claims fail for “several reasons. “. Primarily, they claim that in “the complaint, [Liu Jo] does not even allege that Elite or the Company engaged in any wrongdoing, ”and instead,“ only claims that it was Ms. bad faith ”and who“ became unjustly enriched. ‘ Second, Elite and Society argue that the complaint alleges that they “simply acted as agents of Kendall Jenner,” which is a problem because “it is well established in New York law that a disclosed agent is not responsible for violations of its principal. of the contract or implied commitment of good faith and fair use.
And finally, the agency’s defendants claim that the complaint “does not claim that [they were] unjustly enriched at all, should be less unjustly enriched by Liu Jo “, and therefore, the complaint should be dismissed.
Specifically, the defendants claim that Liu Jo immediately fails to plead that they engaged in any breach of contract or implied obligation, because the complaint “only pleads that”Mrs. Jenner has continuously failed in its obligations under the agreement ”(emphasis added), that“Mrs. Jenner breached his obligation to participate in the second photo shoot ‘and that’Mrs. Jenner has consistently acted in bad faith.
“There is not a single allegation in the complaint of breach of agreement or obligation to Liu Jo by Company or Elite“, Affirms the lawyer of the agencies, declaring that” this is fatal to the claims “. At the same time, the agencies argue that Liu Jo failed to establish that they actually maintained a contract with Liu Jo, because the contract in question, “on its own terms, as the complaint admits, is only between Liu Jo and Kendall Jenner. , Inc. ”(According to Elite and Society,“ The only allegation regarding Elite and Society admits that “Ms. Ayisha Morgan of Elite World Group signed the agreement as the authorized representative of The Society and Ms. Jenner,” which is insufficient, they argue, to bind them to Liu Jo on a contractual basis.)
The existence of a contract between them and Liu Jo is “an underlying element of both a breach of contract and a breach of implied engagement,” the agencies argue.
Regarding Liu Jo’s claim of unfair enrichment against them, the agencies contend that the brand is failing on this front as well, because “Liu Jo doesn’t even try to claim that Elite or Society has been unfairly. enriched ”, and instead alleges that“ Jenner – not Elite or Society – ‘received money’, ‘refused to provide agreed services’ and’ was unjustly enriched. that this enrichment came from Jenner, not Liu Jo.
As such, Elite and Society argue that the court should issue an order dismissing Li Jo’s complaint in its entirety and with prejudice to prevent her from bringing a similar complaint against them in the future.
Broken contract and bad faith
The case began in early August when Liu Jo filed a lawsuit, accusing Jenner and the agency’s defendants of “violating an agreement to provide modeling services to Liu Jo.” According to the complaint, Liu Jo claimed to have contracted with Jenner, 25, in the summer of 2019 for the model to participate in two photoshoots for the brand, among other obligations, such as “performing[ing] certain activities and behaviors on social networks[ing] maintenance ”in exchange for $ 1.5 million plus a 20% service charge.
After signing the agreement in July 2019, and in the wake of Liu Jo [making] all required payments as expected in anticipation of Ms. Jenner’s performance totaling $ 1,350,000 to date, ”Liu Jo says Jenner traveled to Europe to photograph the Spring / Summer 2020 campaign photoshoot,“ thus fulfilling its obligations for one of the two agreed. on photoshoots ”, which the brand said was just“ one of the many obligations it was required to fulfill under the agreement ”.
Things started to go sour after the completion of the first photoshoot, Liu Jo claims in the complaint, and that second shoot never came to fruition after Jenner allegedly “failed to provide Liu Jo with definitive answers to [its] proposals ”for alternative dates and locations for the second shoot. “More than that, Liu Jo claims that Jenner” then reneged on the deal on [rescheduling] date “of October 2020, and argued that she did not violate the agreement in doing so, because” it was “impossible” for [her] travel to Italy in the fall of 2020. “The problem with that claim, according to Liu Jo, is that Jenner traveled to Italy for a Versace photoshoot a month earlier” during the same timeframe the parties were considering for the second [Liu Jo] photo shoot to happen.
Doubling down on her claims that Jenner acted in bad faith, Liu Jo claims that while Jenner “also claimed that she was unable to make it to Italy due to her health issues related to the coronavirus pandemic,” the model was “at the same time … repeatedly reported violating CDC guidelines by embarking on several non-essential international trips and throwing big parties with her friends.
“In short,” Liu Jo argues that “Ms. Jenner made no good faith effort to reschedule the second photo shoot or fulfill her obligations detailed in the agreement, despite Liu Jo’s flexibility and the multiple alternatives offered. , and despite the fact that Liu Jo paid Ms. Jenner for the services she refused to perform. Due to Jenner’s “refusal to negotiate in good faith”, Liu Jo alleges she was “forced to find replacement models and redesign her entire Spring / Summer 2021 photoshoot – at great expense.”
In view of the above and in light of Jenner’s “dilatory and bad faith actions”, Liu Jo claims that she “was forced to bring this lawsuit” and seeks damages “from a amount to be proved at trial, but not less than $ 1.8 million plus interest, together with legal fees and litigation costs for Liu Jo, and any additional damages and other damages that the court deems appropriate.
The case is Liu Jo, SPA v. Kendall Jenner, and. al., 1: 21-cv-06543 (SDNY).