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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
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I paid an individual $500 to have a well known hip hop artist

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I paid an individual $500 to have a well known hip hop artist record a verse for one of my songs. This guy is the artist's manager. We had no formal contract, just some Twitter correspondences (which I have copies of) saying after I paid him the artist would record the verse.

I paid him in May of 2010. I asked the artist to have the verse to me by March of 2011 so I could include the song on my album. The verse never arrived. I have been in sporadic contact with both the artist and his manager. Every few months the artist says he'll get me the verse but he never does. The manager now says it's between me and the artist and to leave him out of it.

I realize I am never going to get the verse nor my money back unless I take them to court. I am in New Jersey. The artist and his manager currently live in Florida. I plan to take them to small claims court since it's only $500.

1. Who do I sue? I figured it would be the manager since I had my initial dealings with him and he's the one I actually sent the money to.

2. Where do I sue? New Jersey, or Florida? I figured NJ, but I want to make sure.

3. Is there anything else I need to know going into this? I've never sued nor been sued before. I've only even had jury duty once so I'm not exactly familiar with the process.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. There might be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I am typing out my answer, or taking a quick break. Please remember that this is general information only, not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed.

I am sorry for your situation. Please clarify - the twitter correspondence is between you and the artist, or you and the manager? Also, whom did you pay - the manager or the artist?

This not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The Twitter correspondence was between me and the manager. The payment went to a PayPal account (XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX) which I believe is run by the manager, or at least his company.

That just occurred to me as well. Could I sue his company, or is that not allowed in small claims court?
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

First, understand that a verbal agreement is just as binding as a written agreement, but is by nature harder to prove - unless you have (1) extrinsic evidence such as twitter correspondence and (2) proof of payment.

So you do, which arguably gives you enough to sue the manager, because that is whom the agreement was with.

1. Who do I sue? I figured it would be the manager since I had my initial dealings with him and he's the one I actually sent the money to.

The manager.

2. Where do I sue? New Jersey, or Florida? I figured NJ, but I want to make sure.

The "long arm statute" of both states allows you to file either in FL or NJ. Filing in NJ makes more sense since it would give you a practical advantage.

This is a breach of contract. To establish a breach of contract claim, a plaintiff has the burden to show that the parties entered into a valid contract, that the defendant failed to perform his obligations under the contract and that the plaintiff sustained damages as a result. Murphy v. Implicito, 2005 WL(NNN) NNN-NNNN *4 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Sept. 22, 2005).

3. Is there anything else I need to know going into this? I've never sued nor been sued before. I've only even had jury duty once so I'm not exactly familiar with the process.

This is a small claims court matter, so you'd be filing in NJ's small claims court. See here for a very good FAQ:

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/civil/civ-02.htm

I hope this finds you well. Please remember – I do not get credit for my time with you unless the answer is rated/concluded by you (while no mandatory, a bonus is always appreciated); I work very hard to formulate an informative answer for you – please reciprocate my good faith. If you need more information, simply hit reply so we can chat until you are satisfied. You may always come back to this thread for follow ups on this topic free of charge.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89059
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 13 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just as a quick clarification, do I sue the manager as an individual (Louis XXXXXXX) or his company (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)?
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

You'd sue the company, because the manager was acting as an agent for the company in this deal.

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Ely
Ely
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