PHILADELPHIA (CN) — A former friend of Grammy winner Jill Scott claims in court that the R&B singer cut him out of a business he conceived to put her lyrics on greeting cards.
It was 10 years ago next month, according to the March 8 complaint, that Mister Frisby first approached Scott about “marketing Scott’s musical lyrics to greeting card companies such as Hallmark and Mahogany.”
Frisby, who brought his suit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas with help from local attorney Simon Rosen, notes that Scott was receptive to the idea and agreed they would split the profits 50-50.
Attributing the delay to Scott’s “whirlwind career in the entertainment business,” the complaint says Frisby dedicated himself to the project for the next several years, selecting appropriate lyrics and prepared sales pitches for potential clients.
Just when Frisby was ready to secure an agreement, however, he says Scott put their plan on hold.
Scott, who started her career as a spoken-word performer, went platinum in 2000 with her debut album “Who Is Jill Scott.” In between more recent albums and writing a book of poetry, the 45-year-old Philly native has also appeared on screen in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” and “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” a television series for HBO and the BBC based on novels of the same name.
Frisby says he learned in 2017 that Scott went ahead with the greeting-card endeavor behind his back, securing an agreement with Hallmark and Mahogany agreement to use her words in “cards, gifts, novelties, and related items.”
“Defendant Scott materially breached her oral agreement with Frisby by falsely stating that she was putting this deal ‘on hold,’ when in fact she circumvented [him] and secured a deal and concealed this fact from plaintiff Frisby,” the complaint states.
Frisby seeks punitive damages for breach of contract and misrepresentation.
Publicists from the West Coast branch of Atlantic Records, Scott’s label since 2014, could not be reached for comment.
A phone call to the attorney who has handled past legal matters on the singer’s behalf was not returned.
Though Frisbee identifies Scott by the name Jill Scott Williams in the case caption, the text of the complaint also uses the surname Johnson.