(CN) - Latin musician Prince Royce fought back against his former label's breach of contract suit by saying Top Stop does not have an enforceable contract.
Top Stop had filed suit in September, alleging that Geoffrey Royce Rojas dba Prince Royce violated its rights to option the singer's next three recording albums and publishing rights.
In an answer and counterclaim, Royce says Top Stop failed to pay him for two previous albums of recorded performances, and that it concealed earnings and inflated expenses in the few royalty statements he has seen.
Top Stop founder and Grammy-winning producer Sergio George, who has worked with music superstars such as Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, says he discovered Royce on MySpace in 2009. Top Stop allegedly invested more than $2 million to cultivate Royce's entertainment career and propelled him to No. 1 on the Latin Billboard charts.
But Royce's attorneys call Top Stop's case "nothing more than a desperate attempt to claim rights from Royce that it does not have."
"Royce's counterclaims seek a swift, just and public resolution of this matter to prevent Top Stop from causing any further damage to his career," according to the filing entered by Encino, Calif., attorney Kenneth Freundlich and Miami attorney Sean Santini.
Royce wants George to pay $5 million in damages for "malicious" defamation that sought to "injure Royce's reputation and good will in the industry and amongst his fans in an effort to intimidate and pressure Royce into acceding to [Top Stop's] unreasonable demands."
"It adds insult to injury that George would engage in this public battle of words, seeking to discredit Royce in the Latin American music community. This is an act of desperation by a man and a company seeking rights that they do not have. We will seek an immediate trial so that Royce can get on with the business of making records and writing songs," the 68-page filing states.
George slammed Royce's counterclaim as "a cheap publicity stunt."
"The counterclaim's emotional tone reveals its desperate nature," George said in a statement. "It's easy to make allegations, we look forward to having the court weigh the actual merits."
Royce is currently touring the U.S. with his Phase II World Tour.
Top Stop is represented by James Sammataro of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.