MCD secures European order to pursue star Prince for €2.2m

Wed, Apr 14, 2010, 01:00

CONCERT PROMOTER MCD has secured a court order allowing it to pursue pop superstar Prince throughout the EU in an effort to execute a €2.2 million judgment order obtained against him over cancellation of his scheduled 2008 Dublin concert.

Rossa Fanning, for MCD, said his client was also considering applying to enforce the judgment order in the US. Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted Mr Fanning’s application for a European Enforcement Order (EEO) against Prince Rogers Nelson arising from the entry of a €2.2 million judgment against him on March 26th last.

That judgment was entered on consent of Prince after a settlement – agreed on February 26th last – of MCD’s case over the cancellation of his Croke Park gig was not implemented. The EEO means MCD can seek income received by Prince in any European countries from concerts or other sources to satisfy the judgment.

Mr Fanning said his side had indicated, when applying for the judgment order on March 26th, that it might seek an EEO and had sought liberty to apply in that regard. He was now making that application on an ex parte basis.

Mr Fanning then read an affidavit from a solicitor for MCD outlining the background to the case and the making of the judgment order. Mr Justice Kelly said he was satisfied that Mr Fanning had accurately summarised the case and it was appropriate to make the EEO sought. He also awarded costs of yesterday’s application at €5,000, plus VAT, against Prince.

MCD had brought its action against Prince Rogers Nelson, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and William Morris Entertainment Endeavour LLC, Beverly Hills, California, over cancellation of the show, which had been set for Croke Park on June 16th, 2008.

The €2.2 million judgment order was made against Prince and the action against William Morris was struck out. MCD claimed it only learned of the cancellation less than two weeks before the scheduled show. Tens of thousands of fans demanded refunds.

The star had claimed William Morris had no authority to bind him to the gig, but it denied this and argued that it acted as agent for the artist under an agreement of August 2005 and had authority to negotiate on his behalf for the purpose of booking gigs.

William Morris claimed the decision to cancel the Dublin event was outside its control and denied negligence, breach of duty and misrepresentation. It had believed the Dublin gig was confirmed by Prince in late February.

Prince did not appear to give evidence but provided a witness statement saying he had “considered” performing several dates as part of a European tour to coincide with the release of a new album.

He said his assistant, through whom all correspondence was made, and William Morris, “would have known” he was “confirming” that he found the Dublin concert “acceptable” as part of a proposed European tour which “was still in the negotiation phase”.

The court heard that, at the end of 2007, there were offers of $22 million (€16.2 million) for seven performances across Europe, but the tour did not go ahead. William Morris said it was only made aware that Prince would not perform in Dublin in early June 2008, when two of its representatives held a meeting with him.

The agency said no “specific” reason was given why Prince wished to cancel, but he spoke about there being no other European dates. Prince, the court was told, became “very agitated” and said it was the agency’s “problem” as it got him “into this mess”.