LOS ANGELES (CN) - An English hair care company formerly endorsed by Katy Perry claims in court that the singer's talent agency threatened to sue it for $6.5 million based on a verbal agreement that never existed.
Jemella Group of Leeds, England, operating as Good Hair Day, sued Perry's company, Killer Queen, in federal court. The hair care company seeks a declaration that Killer Queen cannot sue Jemella for breach of contract and defamation because it "owes no contractual or other civil obligations" to Perry's company after deciding not renew the singer's contract.
(Katheryn Hudson, better known as Katy Perry, and her agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) are not parties to the complaint.)
In 2011, Jemella says it paid Killer Queen $4.5 million for Perry's two-year endorsement of Good Hair Day styling products.
Jemella says it decided not to renew Perry's contract for a third year, citing what the complaint describes as the singer's waning popularity in Europe.
But the firm also claims that Perry did not want to pose for photographs holding Good Hair Day products or endorse them in social media.
Perry's agent allegedly said the singer was negotiating a contract with another hair care company. Jemella says that would have "seriously compromised" its advertising campaign.
The agreement shielded Killer Queen and the hair company "from claims of oral deals that plague the entertainment industry," and required them to confirm everything in writing, according to Jemella.
"Nevertheless, Perry's agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) now claims to have obtained a purported oral agreement between JGL [Jemella Group Ltd.] and Killer Queen," the 10-page lawsuit states. "He claims the parties orally amended the original agreement to add two and a half years to its term so that Perry would be entitled to $6.5 million more from JGL. JGL, however, never orally agreed to those terms. Moreover, it is undisputable that the parties never entered into the required signed written agreement."
Jemella says it began negotiating with Perry's agent after the deadline for exercising a third contract year came and went last September. However, the company claims it opted not to extend Perry's contract a few months later.
"CAA and Killer Queen's litigation counsel have, nevertheless, made specific, repeated threats to sue JGL if it does not pay an amount satisfactory to their client," the complaint states.
Perry is the first female artist with five number-one hits from a single album: "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream," "Firework," "E.T." and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" on her third studio album, 2010's "Teenage Dream."
Perry's talent agents at CAA are Mitch Rose and Tracy Brennan, according to the entertainment industry website IMDb.
Jemella is represented by Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis.
Rose and Brennan could not immediately be reached for comment.