The saga continues. Back in September, you might remember, Isaac Slade and Joe King of the Fray filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court against Gregg Alan Corp, a company headed by their former manager, Gregg Latterman, alleging that a portion of their publishing was procured without their knowledge. This past Monday, Latterman reportedly made his way to the Mile High City to file a counterclaim asking for $750,000 in unpaid compensation, alleging a breach of contract and fiduciary duty on the band's part.
Breach of fiduciary duty.
You'll notice that that phrase appears in both suits. But what does it mean, exactly? Sound like a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo? Well, according to our friends at Wikipedia, "A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care at either equity or law. A fiduciary (abbreviation fid) is expected to be extremely loyal to the person to whom he owes the duty (the "principal"): he must not put his personal interests before the duty, and must not profit from his position as a fiduciary, unless the principal consents."
So what's that have to do with the Fray's suit? A lot, apparently. In fact, near as we can tell, it forms the basis for the act's suit. After examining the documents related to the case, Nashville-based attorney Sawnie R. Aldredge offered further clarification: the case, it seems, pivots on a claim by the band that Latterman breached his fiduciary duty by not disclosing a pre-existing agreement that he had with EMI, one that evidently entitled him to ongoing earnings from the company for any artists he enlisted that subsequently signed publishing agreements. For their part, the band members believed that Latterman would only be receiving a one time finder's fee from EMI for his efforts, when, in fact, he reportedly received a sizable disbursement -- $700k, to be specific, which the band alleges, he didn't disclose. Latterman, however, contends that his agreement with the company was made plain from the onset.
"Before The Fray signed their music publishing deal with EMI, Mr. Latterman clearly explained to the band and their attorney that his company had an arrangement with EMI whereby he stood to gain if the band signed to EMI, and as a result, he had no part in advising the band with respect to that deal," a spokesman for Latterman told Pollstar shortly after the band's suit was filed. "The band elected to enter into the EMI agreement because it was the best publishing deal offered to the band. As The Fray and their attorney know well, this arrangement did not reduce by one cent The Fray's publishing earnings or reduce The Fray's ownership of their copyrights."
While we haven't had a chance yet to review the documents related to Latterman's case, he's reportedly seeking commissions still owed to him for his services and alleges that the outfit, which recently aligned itself with Vector Management, who currently oversees the career of Kings of Leon, didn't keep its end of the bargain when it terminated its agreement with Latterman and his firm.
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