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DJ Kaskade lands $8 million for shows canceled by Vegas nightclub

The federal judge ruled the Covid-19 pandemic did not absolve the club owners of their contractual obligations to the Grammy nominee.

(CN) — A federal judge in Nevada awarded Grammy-nominated DJ Kaskade nearly $8 million in a contract dispute over Las Vegas nightclub performances.

The ruling on Friday from U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon found that Ryan Raddon, who performs under the stage name Kaskade and does business as the president of Big City Dynasty Corp., is entitled to liquidated damages from the owners of the now-shuttered nightclub Kaos in the Palms Casino Resort.

The owners of the nightclub did not dispute they had breached an artist performance agreement which contracted Kaskade to perform at Kaos. FP Holdings, the resort and club owners, canceled seven of Kaskade’s scheduled shows in 2019, for which they acknowledged they owed $1.2 million in damages. But they argued mandated restrictions on businesses at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic barred the nightclub from fulfilling its obligations under the performance agreement.

Gordon agreed with Kaskade that FP Holdings owed an addition $6.75 million for the 30 shows they cancelled in 2020. Gordon cited the inadequacy of FP Holdings’ efforts to meet the contractual obligations, noting the nightclub could have scheduled some of the 2020 shows before Nevada’s shutdown orders went into effect in mid-March or found other venues for the performances once casinos and businesses reopened in June 2020 and public concerts resumed in October 2020.

“FP never offered or even considered another venue, even though, for example, its Pearl Theater was available,” Gordon wrote. “And Raddon was willing to consider alternative venues, even outdoor or streaming performances. It was not impossible for the plaintiffs to schedule 30 performances in 2020.”

The Kaos Nightclub and Dayclub endured several financial struggles in its short eight months of operation before FP Holdings closed it in November 2019. FP Holdings argued performances under Covid-19 safety protocols and restrictions would have been prohibitively expensive and difficult.

Gordon said this did not excuse FP Holdings from considering alternatives, noting the risk of small audiences and large losses existed even before the pandemic when they executed the performance agreement with Kaskade.

He further ruled Kaskade and Big City Dynasty suffered losses beyond the canceled shows. Gordon pointed to the success bonuses promised under the performance agreement, the lost opportunities to sell merchandise and perform new music, as well as the damage canceled shows could inflict on Kaskade’s reputation.

“These damages are difficult to quantify, but they are real nonetheless,” Gordon said.

In addition to the award of $7.95 million in damages, Gordon said Kaskade and Big City Dynasty may seek to recover attorney fees and costs because they “were forced to bring this action due to FP’s refusal to pay even undisputed amounts.”

Kaskade's attorney expressed satisfaction with the ruling in a statement.

“We are pleased that the court found in Kaskade’s favor and upheld the parties’ carefully negotiated agreement,” said Jordan Siev of Reed Smith, who led the trial team.

Representatives for FP Holdings declined to comment.

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