In a opinion yesterday, Judge Carter dismissed claims by a plaintiff alleging that he created the logo for Jay-Z’s record label Roc-A-Fella, and is owed money under a contract and under the copyright laws. The logo is depicted below:
The plaintiff claims to have lost the only copy of the contract, but Judge Carter found there was insufficient evidence to believe it ever existed — which meant the contract claim could not survive the Statute of Frauds. Judge Carter rejected entirely the testimony of the plaintiff’s friend, David Sierra, who claimed to have seen the contract, because his account contradicted the plaintiff’s account in several ways. In addition, “at his deposition, Sierra initially testified that he had not actually seen the signed contract; however, after a break in the deposition, Plaintiff’s counsel told defense counsel, ‘I think Mr. Sierra has something to say,’ at which point Sierra said that he had spoken with Plaintiff’s counsel over the break, and that he had in fact seen the contract.” The opinion continues:
This leaves only Plaintiff’s own self-serving testimony that he drafted the contract . . . and that he lost track of it in 1998. This testimony alone is not enough to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a writing existed. As a general matter, “a nonmoving party’s self-serving statement, without direct or circumstantial evidence to support the charge, is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Our prior posts on the case are here.