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Medina Countersues Martin…He’s Called To Testify In Suit By Former Agent

Medina Countersues Martin

By Leila Cobo


March 13, 2004
Copyright ©2004 Information Access Company. All rights reserved.

Angelo Medina, the Puerto Rican empresario who managed Ricky Martin for 12 years, has filed a $63.5 million countersuit against his former client, alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment and pain and suffering.

"I've been forced into doing this," Medina tells Billboard, noting that he will donate any money he wins from the suit to charity. "This is a moral issue, not a business issue."

Medina's suit, filed March 3 in Superior Court in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is in response to an action Ricky Martin Enterprises (RME) filed against him Feb. 17 in New York Supreme Court. RME is headquartered in San Juan.

In his suit, Martin seeks $2.5 million from his ex-manager for "unearned management commissions through the assertion of claims for unjust enrichment, breach of agreement and breach of fiduciary duty."

The suit refers to several advances that Martin received from his label, Sony Music Entertainment, stemming from his obligation to record at least five more albums.

Several legal experts have described the suit as "unusual," given that managers are usually entitled to commissions when artists receive their money, as was the case here.

"Absent some contractual limitation, the fact that the artist has future obligations vis-a-vis the label does not usually restrict the ability of the manager to receive his commission from the monies already paid by the label to the artist," says Carol Fernandez, an attorney with Hunton & Williams in Miami. "The rationale being that the monies are derived from the fruit of the manager's efforts."

Another entertainment attorney says, "It's a novel approach, and it will be watched closely."


Beyond the legal issues, Martin's suit has left many in the Latin music industry perplexed, as his relationship with Medina was one of the most enduring, and closest, in the industry.

Medina began handling Martin early in his career, when the singer was relatively unknown. With Medina, Martin achieved what many consider to be the most successful crossover in Latin music history.

"It's really sad," one executive says.

Martin's new manager, Benny Medina (no relationship to Angelo Medina) of Handprint Entertainment, did not return calls from Billboard.

A press release issued in Puerto Rico by Martin's public relations agency stated that "prior to filing the suit, representatives for Ricky Martin Enterprises Inc. exhausted all avenues to come to a cordial and reasonable agreement."

John Rosenberg, who represents RME, says, "Ricky Martin Enterprises is content to have these issues addressed and resolved through the judicial process. Accordingly, their only comment on these matters will be in the context of the pending legal procedures."

Martin amicably parted ways with Angelo Medina in September 2003.

According to a press statement at that time, Medina was to continue promoting Martin's concerts in Puerto Rico. Medina, in his suit, alleges that Martin breached that agreement.

Ricky Martin Called To Testify In Suit By Former Agent

April 15, 2004
Copyright ©2004 EFE News Service. All rights reserved.

San Juan, Apr 15 (EFE).- Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin said Thursday that he has no problem with testifying in court in a lawsuit filed against him by his former agent.

Martin said he is "not above the law," responding to statements suggesting the contrary made by Jose Andreu Garcia, the lawyer for businessman and agent Angelo Medina, who is suing the singer for $63.5 million for breach of contract.

Andreu Garcia, a former chief justice of the Puerto Rican Supreme Court, subpoenaed Martin to appear in court Friday in connection with Medina's suit.

The singer's lawyers filed a motion to prevent Martin from being deposed in the San Juan Court, claiming that the action violated previous agreements between the recording artist and his ex-agent.

"The commentaries that have been published today (Wednesday) in Puerto Rico really surprise me. I am not, nor have I ever tried to be, above the law," the singer said, in statements appearing in the local newspaper Primera Hora.

"I have put in the hands of my lawyers and the courts all the issues related to this case so the process is carried out according to the law," Martin said.

"Nor am I refusing to testify," he added, "on the contrary, the moment the court decides that it's necessary for me to make an appearance, I'll be there."

Martin filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against his former agent in February, alleging that Medina charged him in advance for services that were never rendered.

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