Prince fails to show for legal action

 

Pop superstar Prince has failed to appear in court despite being listed among the witnesses in a €1.6 million legal action that began today over the cancellation of his planned Croke Park gig in 2008.

Promoters MCD are suing the artist, full name Prince Rogers Nelson, for financial loss and damage to commercial reputation after he pulled out just days before the show on June 16th, 2008.

Tens of thousands of fans demanded refunds after the US performer called off the concert.

The case was mentioned before Mr Justice Kelly last week, who was told there was no application to give evidence from the US by video-link.

The judge was not told whether the artist would appear, but he was named as one of the defence witnesses.

However, the court heard today the reclusive singer will not be appearing, but will furnish a written statement.

The action by MCD is against Prince Rogers Nelson; William Morris Endeavour Entertainment LLC, of Beverly Hills, California; and Tony Goldring, alleged agents for Prince.

William Morris claims that on February 26th, 2008, it entered into a contract with MCD for Prince to perform at Croke Park on June 16th, 2008, for “an artist’s guaranteed fee of $3 million” (€2.04 million).

It claims MCD transferred $1.5 million, half of the agreed fee, to an account of William Morris. It is also admitted that, about June 6th, 2008, MCD was notified by William Morris that Prince wished to cancel the concert.

The defendants say Prince refused to travel to Dublin and gave “no reason of substance” for this. William Morris and Mr Goldring say the decision to cancel was outside their control, and they returned $1.5 million to MCD. They deny negligence, breach of duty or misrepresentation.

MCD’s Denis Desmond has said, while it was normal industry practice for concert promoters to get insurance against cancellation, no policy would insure against cancellation due to “a whim” of the artist.

MCD could not recoup its extensive financial losses by bringing an insurance claim. It had to refund some 55,126 tickets purchased and its total losses exceeded $1.66 million, he said.

The star’s lawyers have argued the MCD claim was “greatly inflated”.