The former manager of rising British-Canadian pop star Lauren Spencer-Smith is suing Universal Music Group (UMG) and two of its labels over what his lawsuit calls “libel,” “slander” and “tortious interference”.
Lawyers for David Ehrlich, who represented Spencer-Smith as her entertainment lawyer and manager, filed a summons with the Supreme Court of the State of New York on Wednesday (April 26) against UMG Recordings, Island Records and Republic Records.
Spencer-Smith is not named in the suit.
“Defendants falsely told Spencer-Smith and others that Plaintiff David Ehrlich… engaged in: (1) unlawful behavior with women by taking photos of them and (2) unlawful harassment towards women,” the court filing states.
The lawsuit alleges that these “false and defamatory statements” caused Spencer-Smith to sever her contracts with Ehrlich’s entertainment law firm, David M. Ehrlich & Associates, and his talent management company, DME Management.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that, as a result of those statements, “several of plaintiffs’ prospective business relations broke down, thereby directly causing damage to plaintiffs.”
It continues: “Plaintiffs have suffered economic and non-economic damages, including but not limited to lost revenues from the purported terminations of [Spencer-Smith’s contracts with Ehrlich’s firms], as well as substantial harm to plaintiff Ehrlich’s reputation and standing in his profession, business, and in the community.”
(You can read Erlich’s full summons through here.)
The lawsuit seeks USD $45 million in damages, including $25 million for alleged “defamatory conduct,” $10 million for the loss of the management contract with Spencer-Smith and $5 million for the loss of the legal representation contract. It also seeks court fees and interest charges.
Nineteen-year-old Spencer-Smith, who was born in Portsmouth, UK, and grew up on Canada’s Vancouver Island, first gained attention when she placed in the Top 20 on the 18th season of American Idol in 2020.
In 2022, her track Fingers Crossed, which she self-released via TuneCore, went viral on TikTok, propelling it into the charts.
The track reached 19th place on the US Billboard 100, and became a Top 10 hit in the UK, Australia and Canada, among other countries.
In December of last year, she was named one of VEVOs’ “artists to watch in 2023.”
According to the lawsuit, Spencer-Smith signed with Ehrlich’s law firm in 2019, and with his talent agency in 2021 (both before her breakout hit) and severed her relationship with both firms on May 13, 2022. That would have been two months after UMG announced she had signed with Island and Republic.
In June of 2022, it was reported that Spencer-Smith signed a joint management agreement with Ziggy Chareton and Shawn Mendes manager Andrew Gertler’s AG Artists.
In September of 2022, Spencer-Smith signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music (WMC).
Ehrlich’s lawsuit is one of a number of recent lawsuits in which former managers have taken legal action against artists or their labels.
In 2020, Chance the Rapper (aka Chancellor Bennett) was sued by his manager over an alleged $3 million in unpaid commissions.
And in 2022, Ricky Martin’s ex-manager, Rebecca Drucker, sued the singer for breach of contract – again over allegedly unpaid commissions.Music Business Worldwide