Claims against Jann Arden, The Feldman Agency and Bruce Allen Talent in the $27M Harvest Picnic lawsuit filed by concert organizer Jean-Paul Gauthier were dismissed yesterday by a Hamilton judge.
In his summary judgment, Justice Alan Whitten highly criticized the lawsuit filed by Gauthier and suggested that he had cherry-picked the issues upon which he had based his lawsuit, while not paying people money that was owed to them. A summary judgment is issued when a judge decides there is no basis for trial in portions of a lawsuit.
"Aside from broad allegations and stratospheric figures based on calculations of the ticket sales of the events … the plaintiff has not led any evidence as to actual out of pocket expenses," Whitten wrote in his decision, dropping claims against Arden, who pulled out of last year's Harvest Picnic bill due to illness, as well as those filed against her manager, Bruce Allen Talent, and bookers the Feldman Agency.
"In reality, the future of the Harvest Festival is more likely to be affected by the plaintiff launching this suit and not paying the artist completely. What artist would sign on for these problems?" Whitten added.
However, claims regarding honouring radius clauses against Cowboy Junkies, Johnny Reid and their managers are proceeding based on the strict wording of the contracts they signed. But Justice Whitten said those claims will likely fall within "simplified procedure," which means that if there is a judgement in Gauthier's favour, the outcome would probably fall to $100K or less - not the original millions Gauther was seeking.
The judge also reprimanded Gauthier over the fact that Reid is still owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees after playing last summer's festival. Many other artists have also not been paid.
"You cannot come into court claiming equity if you yourself have not been equitable," he wrote. "You cannot cherry-pick terms out of a contract to serve your interests and ignore others."
Gauthier and his September Seventh Entertainment company, promoter of the annual Harvest Picnic concert held near Dundas, Ontario in late August, initially filed his lawsuit in a Hamilton court in late September 2016, seeking nearly $27 million in damages from the defendants, including over $6M from Arden and her management team alone for what it called "a loss of expected revenue" and "losses based on costs incurred due to breach of contract" when she pulled out of her August 27 appearance due to illness.
Mike Trebilcock, of Hamilton band the Killjoys, told the CBC that he was stlll waiting to be paid for his band's Picnic appearance. Other acts have registered similar complaints.
Gauthier claimed that his company losses allegedly affected not only the future of The Harvest Picnic, but also The Hamilton Music Awards, which September Seventh Entertainment also produced.
In November, Johnny Reid, who was accused of violating the radius clause of his contract, countersued, claiming that he was only paid 50% of what he was owed from the last Harvest Picnic, and is seeking $110,250 in damages. That case is yet to appear before the court.