(CN) – A record company that was sued by an admittedly “cheesy” lounge singer cannot get help from its insurance company, a California appeals court ruled.
The Oglio Entertainment Group sued Hartford Casualty Insurance after Hartford denied coverage from a lawsuit filed by Mark Jonathan Davis, who goes by the stage name “Richard Cheese.”
Davis described the Cheese character in his lawsuit as “a comedy character created by [Davis] who performs ‘lounge’ or ‘swing-style’ versions of current and popular rock, hip-hop and pop songs.”
He worked with Oglio in 2000 to produce an album called “Lounge Against the Machine.”
For the second Cheese album, Oglio allegedly tried to cut Davis’ advance payment from $15,000 to $7,000. When Davis refused, Oglio threatened to, and ultimately did, hire somebody else to record the songs, according to the complaint.
In 2002, Oglio produced Bud E. Luv’s Ozzy Osbourne lounge album titled “Diary of a Loungeman” and “Sub-Urban” by Jaymes Bee and the Deep Lounge Coalition.
Davis sued Oglio for breach of contract and intentional interference with potential economic advantages. He claimed that Oglio was trying to hurt his future album sales by producing the other lounge-style albums from singers with “cheesy professional names.”
Eventually Oglio settled Davis’s claims for $80,000 and then asked his insurer to indemnify. When Hartford refused, Oglio filed its own lawsuit.
But the trial court sided with Hartford, ruling that Davis’ lawsuit did not fall under the advertising injury portion of Oglio’s insurance policy.
The Los Angeles-based Second Appellate District affirmed Tuesday.
“This does not allege that Oglio copied, in an advertisement, Davis’ advertising idea or style of advertisement, but that Oglio sought out artists to copy Davis’ product and then sold a competing product, injuring Davis’ sales and damaging his professional name,” Justice Jeffrey Johnson wrote on behalf of the court.
“There is no description of any advertisement used by Oglio, or any allegation that Oglio used an advertisement that copied an advertisement or advertising idea of Davis’s,” he added.