Federal Court Sets Trial in $13 Million Lawsuit Against Harry Winston and AIDS Research Foundation (amfAR)
LOS ANGELES, CA – U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu set trial in the $13 million lawsuit against Harry Winston and amfAR for August 8, 2017. The case arises out of their multi-year “milestone partnership”. The case, Optikal Noize, Inc. v. AAB Productions, et al, C.D. Cal. 2:16-cv-06528, “doesn’t look good” for the parties, said Judge Wu at the scheduling conference Thursday morning at the Spring Street Courthouse.
In its complaint, Optikal Noize alleged it helped fuse the unprecedented joint-venture between Harry Winston and amfAR. Forbes first reported the deal. News sources indicate that the deal spans 3 years and is worth $53 million. Optikal Noize claimed that the negotiations began through it, under a non-disclosure agreement AAB Productions signed on behalf of itself and as amfAR’s event planner. After a year of sponsorship negotiations through the creative consultants at Optikal Noize, the complaint avers that the parties then circumvented their intermediary and consummated the $53 million deal behind closed doors. None of the defendants, it is alleged, paid Optikal Noize for its work introducing and then developing the parties’ relationship.
Zein E. Obagi, Jr., lead counsel for plaintiff Optikal Noize, said, “Our client, like many other small businesses, depends on other organizations honoring their agreements with it. They did not want have to bring this lawsuit to hold accountable a noble organization, like the AIDS Research Foundation of America (amfAR). It’s early, and we have not yet started discovery, but so far it seems to be the case of a few big guys stepping on the little guy who brought them together – and, for no good reason.”
In light of the congestion faced by state courts in California, lawyers at Obagi Law Group, P.C., representing the plaintiff, say they are pleased that the defendants removed the case to federal court. “The federal forum is probably more familiar with issues like international comity that we expect Harry Winston to assert as we seek discovery of its executive who retained Optikal Noize. He lives in Switzerland, and purportedly doesn’t come to the U.S. much. We also appreciate the opportunity to get this controversy to trial expediently.”