BROOKLYN (CN) – An agent claims a film company hired bodyguards to trap her in a “seedy, out-of-the-way room” and extort her for $25,000 in Germany. Yasha Young sued Magic Circle Films International and The Thurston Law Office in Kings County Court.
Young claims that Magic Circle Films International hired (nonparty) Annie Bertram in November 2009 to “develop a concept for and execute a professional photo shoot of a band managed by MCFI,” and that she, Young, represented Bertram for this.
Young claims Magic Circle had her fly to Hannover, Germany in January to meet with the company’s president, Joey de Majo.
Young says she was told that the company wanted her to review the photos, and discuss possibilities for a “‘wider collaboration” in the future. But Young says that when she arrived in Hannover, “she was met by a purported ‘bodyguard’ of the said Joey de Majo, who ushered plaintiff into a taxi cab and, instead of taking her to an office to meet de Majo as anticipated, instructed the taxi cab to proceed to a seedy, out-of-the-way hotel.”
At the hotel, another bodyguard led her to a room “where de Majo and several others were lurking,” the complaint states.
Young says the men told her she was “indebted” to Magic Circle for $25,000, and “she was required to write a check for that amount on the spot.”
If she declined, Young says, she was told that “things would get ‘super bad’ for [her].”
Young claims that de Majo told her that writing a check would “make it all go away,” but if she resisted, she would be sued “like you have never been sued before” and would “never be happy again.”
Young says the men apparently were angry because “photographs from the said photo shoot had allegedly been posted on the Web site belonging to the make-up artist who attended the photo shoot,” but Young says she knew nothing about that.
“Plaintiff was in fear of her personal safety at that point, and … ran out of the hotel room, terrified that she would be physically and economically harmed,” Young says.
As promised, the company had its lawyers at The Thurston Law Office threaten her with a lawsuit in March, Young says. She claims that that threat to sue her for “defamation” or “to ostensibly ‘enforce’ and contractual rights of MCMI” were “completely frivolous and not made in good faith.”
Young claims that the law firm repeated “the extortionate demand for the payment of $25,000 under threat of commencing an action against plaintiff and other unnamed employees of plaintiff’s company personally in New York.”
She adds that “Thurston’s threats to commence such an action were not made in good faith,” but “in furtherance of its client’s attempt to extort funds from the plaintiff that were not, under any possible circumstances, due and owing from her.””
Young seeks punitive damages from Magic Circle Films International for false imprisonment. She also seeks declaratory judgment against the company and the law firm, releasing her from the terms of the agreement for the photo shoot.
She is represented by Michael Levine with Levine & Associates.