The band KITTIE and its producer Garth Richardson have added important new claims to its complaint against Artemis Records detailing additional ways that the label undermined and failed to fulfill its most basic obligations to the band and have requested from the court that the band be released from any further obligations under its recording contract.
The lawsuit, filed July 25 with The United States District Court for Southern District of New York, cites Sheridan Square Entertainment, the parent company of Artemis Records, for numerous breaches of contract and breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing. The suit now seeks the band's release from its contract as well as restitution and compensation for interference with band management and inadequate support and promotion.
"We are disappointed but not surprised that Artemis Records has chosen to respond to the findings of McGladrey & Pullen, Certified Public Accountants, with obstinacy and denial," said David Lander, K.M.A. Entertainment (KITTIE's management). "KITTIE also feels that this response is indicative of the level of contempt Artemis holds for them and that they have no other option but to take the lawsuit to the next level."
Artemis Records is run by Danny Goldberg, Chairman and Daniel Glass, President.
"Settlement discussions have been fruitless," said Lander. "We've made every effort to resolve this claim. We are seeking relief and Artemis' outright release of KITTIE from any further commitments to Artemis."
KITTIE has added claims of undermining the band's management, interference with the band's relationship with its agent, interference with its ability to develop new income streams, interference with its ability to tour internationally, and inadequate support and promotion. Artemis' actions and failures to fulfill its obligations under its contract with KITTIE resulted in a loss of at least $2 million for the band.
In May 2000, Danny Goldberg threatened the then 18-year-old singer of the band, Morgan Lander, stating that she would never get another cent out of him if the band did not go into the studio in September 2000 and produce another album. At this time the band was touring incessantly to promote its first album, released in January 2000. Its members were exhausted, and it was preparing for Ozzfest, which was scheduled to begin that summer. "I remember hanging up the phone and saying to my father, 'How can he expect us to write a new record at the snap of his fingers,'" said Morgan Lander. "Here we are gearing up for Ozzfest and the head of the label is demanding that we come up with a new album."
In January 2000, Artemis interfered with management by imposing an "on tour" handler who was hired to "take control of the band and get rid of the parents," as the band's bus driver reported to David and Deanna Lander in February 2000. Artemis told management that the handler was only there to provide services and that the band would not be charged for his services, yet he was paid substantial weekly and daily payment over the course of three and a half months and despite having received assurances to the contrary, the band was later charged for all amounts paid.
Artemis President Daniel Glass continually pressured David Lander to resign from his position as manager, both by asking him personally, and by having others make negative comments about his role as manager.
According to the amended complaint, Product Manager Dave Lory undermined the position of David Lander by falsely presenting himself as manager of the band. Lory registered himself as the band's manager in July 2000 at Ozzfest. Lory also listed himself as band manager in other documents without prior knowledge or permission of Lander.
Through a series of telephone calls and meetings, Goldberg, Glass, and Lory undermined the band and its management by attempting unsuccessfully to persuade The Agency Group, which was the band's agent, not to book shows for the band. This was done for the purpose of starving the band financially, in order to force the band to record another album as early as possible, far before it was reasonably prepared to do so.
"Artemis' delay tactics in combating KITTIE's good faith attempts to resolve royalty accounting deficiencies left the band no choice but to put it all on the table in court," said KITTIE's music attorney, Susan Abramovitch, of Goodman & Carr LLP in Toronto. "Artemis has pushed KITTIE to raise the stakes in this lawsuit."
KITTIE and Richardson first filed the lawsuit against Artemis Records in March after their auditing company, McGladrey & Pullen, reported that the band was owed nearly $900,000 in royalties and other compensation. Additionally, the audit revealed that Richardson is owed over $120,000.