H.E.R. Files Lawsuit Seeking Release From Label

R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. has filed a lawsuit against record label MBK Entertainment in California Superior Court in Los Angeles seeking release from her contract.

In her complaint, H.E.R., born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, says she wants to be released from her contract under the claim that it forces her to work “beyond seven years after May 19, 2011,” which allegedly violates California Labor Code 2855, also known as the “Seven Year Rule” that “prohibits the enforcement beyond seven years of a contract (such as the Agreement) to render services of a special, unique, extraordinary or intellectual character.”

“Wilson has not been free to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK,” the complaint, written by her attorney Allen Grodsky, reads. Wilson signed with MBK on May 19, 2011, when she was 14 years old.

The documents allegedly state that Wilson is an “exclusive employee” for the “initial period” that “ended the later of 15 months after May 19, 2011, or 12 months after the commercial release in the United States of Wilson’s first album under the contract, and up to five additional Option Periods of more than one year each.”

The record label has supposedly “significantly limited” H.E.R.’s “employment rights” by not allowing her “to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK,” as well as “exclusively owned the right to exploit her name and likeness for her recordings.”

H.E.R. also claims that Jeff Robinson, as her manager, fired the legal team that represented her and replaced them with his attorneys. Those lawyers, however, “took 5% of the deals they negotiated, but did not have a written fee agreement or a conflict waiver signed by Wilson, and said that they performed the services ‘as a favor’ to their client Robinson who was paid 20% commission for each of those deals.”

Wilson is now seeking a “judicial declaration that the Agreement is voidable and may not be enforced against Plaintiff under California law to the extent it purports to require Plaintiff’s services after May 18, 2019.”

(Photo: Tim Saccenti)

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