Puerto Rican singer Daddy Yankee should pay $6.4 million to a concert promoter who sued after the star canceled his 2010 tour of Argentina, a Miami federal jury concluded.
Daddy Yankee, whose real name is Ramon Luis Ayala Rodríguez, is a popular reggaeton star, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America. Reggaeton is a mix of reggae, Latin and Caribbean music that was made popular in Puerto Rico with artists like Daddy Yankee.
His last release, “Prestige,” scored several hits, including “Lovumba,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Latin chart.
The artist, his record company and manager were sued in 2011 by Five for Entertainment S.A., doing business as Five Live Entertainment, and promoter Diego Hernan De Iraola for alleged breach of contract, defamation and injurious falsehood.
Five Live and De Iraola were represented by attorneys Peter Berlowe, Andrew Ricco and Daniel Vielleville of Assouline & Berlowe in Miami. Attorneys Eric W. Bloom of Washington and Margaret Ciaverella of New York and Tomas Leonard, partners at Winston & Strawn, rounded out the legal team for the plaintiffs.
They said De Iraola’s company failed after the tour cancellation.
Five Live organized and sold out two shows for Daddy Yankee as part of the planned 10-concert tour, and Daddy Yankee received $800,000 in advance payments.
The singer-songwriter, though, canceled the tour two days before the first concert, alleging he had not been paid in full.
The lawsuit claimed Daddy Yankee’s manager, Edgar Baldiri Martinez, made false statements to radio stations and newspapers claiming De Iraola and Five Live had “swindled” the concert producers and committed forgery.
“De Iraola’s professional and personal reputations were ruined, and he lost all of his business,” the lawyers said in statement.
A jury on Nov. 15 determined liability in the first phase of the trial and returned with the award Nov. 21 following a three-day damages trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz.
The jury found that the damages suffered by Five Live due to Baldiri’s statements amounted to $4 million, while damages to De Iraola amounted to $2 million.
The attorneys in a news release said De Iraola continues to organize concerts and events in Argentina, and the court case “was necessary to ensure that his excellent professional and personal reputation is renewed.”
Peter E. Berlowe, a partner at Assouline & Berlowe, said his clients “are grateful to the men and women of the Miami jury who, through their verdict, sent a clear message that destroying reputations through false statements is not an acceptable business practice.”
Daddy Yankee’s attorney was far from conceding defeat.
“This is not a final verdict. We’re working on a series of motions that we must exhaust before we can appeal this sentence because the actions they’re accusing Yankee of were neither authorized nor instigated by the artist or his company,” Edwin Prado, the artist’s adviser, general counsel and trial attorney, told the Spanish news agency Efe.
No motions were filed as of mid-Monday.