Marc Kinchen, a DJ and producer who goes by MK, filed a lawsuit against his management company on Wednesday, accusing the firm of duping him into signing an “unconscionable” agreement.
The performer alleges that manager Mark Davenport tricked him into signing the deal during a surprise meeting at an airport after he had been up late drinking and performing at a show the previous night. The suit alleges that Davenport told MK that he had to sign the deal right away without allowing a lawyer to review it.
According to the suit, the deal locks MK into representation with Davenport’s firm, MDM Artists, for up to 10 years, in apparent violation of California’s “seven-year rule” limiting personal service contracts. The initial term of the agreement was six years, but it included four unilateral one-year options, according to the complaint.
“Defendants fraudulently duped MK into signing a wholly one-sided, unconscionable management agreement in which Defendants inserted a series of ‘automatic,’ irrevocable options,” the suit alleges.
The suit also claims that MDM Artists would be entitled to a cut of MK’s earnings on deals that are struck even after the contract is terminated.
MK is suing Davenport, MDM Artists, and Marci Weber, the other principal of the management firm. The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Even by the sometimes rough and tumble standards in the industry, MDM’s conduct was egregious and violative of industry norms — and it is ongoing,” said Matt Rosengart, MK’s attorney. “In effect, while making false promises and concealing material facts from MK in violation of their fundamental fiduciary duties to him, which were witnessed by a third party, they improperly tried to lock him into a decade or longer agreement at excessive rates and with oppressive terms, with potential lifetime implications for MK, which was intolerable and for myriad reasons, legally improper.”
The suit seeks the return of $1.5 million in commissions, as well as $2 million in damages. In a separate complaint before the California Labor Commissioner, MK is seeking a declaration that the contract is void and unenforceable.