Photo: Getty
  /  08.23.2022

Most certainly, you’ve all heard the news regarding music professionals Swizz Beatz and Timbaland suing social networking service Triller. The Verzuz co-creators’ attorneys filed a lawsuit against Triller because they have not received the money that they claim is still owed to the both of them.

Triller obtained Verzuz from Swizz Beatz and Timbaland in 2021. What started off as an idea turned into something huge, and it made sense to them for Triller to acquire it. However, the music icons definitely weren’t expecting to not be compensated. Even after many attempts to get their money, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland claim Triller did not deliver the payments. In order to fully comprehend the lawsuit, one must understand certain legal terminology and understand the proceedings that take place in such cases. In this read, you will get an attorneys’ breakdown of the lawsuit in plain language.

The Parties in the Lawsuit

Who are the plaintiffs?

The plaintiffs are Kaseem Daoud Dean, professionally known as Swizz Beatz, a resident of California, and Timothy Z. Mosley, professionally known as Timbaland, a resident of Florida, as individuals. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are the original co-creators of Verzuz.

Who are the defendants?

The defendants are Triller (TRILLER HOLD CO. LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; TRILLER, INC., a Delaware corporation; and DOES one through 20). Although both TRILLER HOLD CO. LLC and TRILLER, INC. were formed and exist under the laws of the state of Delaware, their principal place of business is located in Los Angeles County, California. Regarding “DOES one through 20,” Swizz Beatz and Timbaland don’t know who these defendants are, so they have sued them under a “fictitious name.” In other words, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland allege that these unnamed defendants are also legally responsible and have played a part in causing damages. Therefore, these defendants also need to be attached to Triller even though they remained unnamed.

Where was the lawsuit filed?

The lawsuit was filed at the Superior Court of the State of California in the county of Los Angeles, specifically the Central District. According to California Courts, the judicial branch of California, in these types of courts, “a judge and sometimes a jury hears witnesses’ testimony and other evidence and decides cases by applying the relevant law to the relevant facts.”

What is the jurisdiction and venue?

According to Cornell Law School, the definition of jurisdiction is “the power of a court to adjudicate cases and issue orders” and “territory within which a court or government agency may properly exercise its power.” California was chosen because the amount of damages met the threshold (in a civil case, such as this one, damages mean that the money is intended to compensate the party that was harmed — in this case Swizz Beatz and Timbaland). Also the defendant, Triller, does business in the state of California, has its principal place of business there, and the claims also arise from the conduct that occurred in the state of California. Therefore, even though Timbaland resides in Miami, Florida and Triller was formed under the laws of Delaware, the appropriate jurisdiction and venue is still in California.

Why was the lawsuit filed?

The lawsuit was filed because the plaintiffs claim that the defendants have not upheld their part of the agreement by not giving them their money owed.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s lawyers make it clear that Triller breached the contract 

First of all, Swizz and Timbaland’s attorneys thoroughly break down how the contract was breached under count one. There was a fully executed contract: a Unit Purchase and Contribution Agreement, dated Jan. 27, 2021. In this particular contract, Triller agreed to purchase equity interest in Verzuz from Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. When a contract is fully executed, both parties must abide by the terms and conditions. When those terms and conditions are not abided by, then the contract is deemed to have been “breached.” When this happens, there is usually a clause giving the other party a chance to cure their breach. If this doesn’t happen, then there is usually a demand letter filed or a lawsuit that is brought.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland were under the impression that Triller would hold up their end of the agreement. A material inducement was that they would receive payment and Triller would perform its obligations to the original creators of Verzuz. The Unit Purchase and Contribution Agreement clearly stated that Triller was obliged to make payments “to plaintiffs Mosley and Dean on and shortly after the closing date, and other payments were to be made on the first and second anniversary of the closing date.” The plaintiffs’ attorneys claim that Triller made the first two payments and then failed to continue following the terms of the contract. Even after they were given written notice of failing to provide payment, they still did not provide the payment that Swizz Beatz and Timbaland were owed.

On Feb. 25, 2022, Triller, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland entered into a settlement and payment agreement, where Triller was supposed to give all of the accelerated payments to Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. The first payment was made. However, Triller still owes the plaintiffs $28 million, plus reimbursement of certain costs and expenses.

The attorneys specifically break down how Triller must pay Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. Triller failed to follow the terms of the settlement and payment agreement. Under contract, Triller was supposed to pay Swizz Beatz and Timbaland certain monetary amounts by certain dates and failed to do so over and over again. There is also another section in that agreement that states that if Triller doesn’t make the payments agreed to and doesn’t cure it within five days, then the unpaid amounts become accelerated. When Triller failed to make payments, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland sent a written notice. Until this day, their attorneys make it clear that Triller has failed to make the necessary payments and that Triller has materially breached the agreement.

What amount does Triller owe Swizz Beatz and Timbaland?

Triller owes Swizz Beatz and Timbaland $28,095,000.

What else do Swizz Beatz and Timbaland get?

Their attorneys’ fees paid if they win.

What is Triller’s defense?

They don’t have one right now. Also, under the agreement, they “permanently waived and released all claims and defenses of each and every nature both legal and equitable.”

Stay tuned and see what happens next.

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