Ginta Lapina – The Legal Saga Continues…

Source - www.fashioninspo.com
Source – http://www.fashioninspo.com

In an earlier blog post we reported that top fashion model Ginta Lapina was taking the unusual step of issuing a suit against Schwarzkopf and her agency Women Management in relation to allegations that the two entities mislead her into doing a photo shoot, improperly paid her and used her images without consent.

You will also recall that Lapina had only last year signed an exclusive management deal with Women Management, which would take their relationship through to some time in 2015.

Well unsurprisingly, when one is suing their agency, Lapina has jumped ship and is now represented by DNA Model Management.  Although DNA’s lawyer has stated in the New York Daily News that “any relationship between Miss Lapina and Women Management was over before she contacted DNA and discussed representation.”

Women Management has immediately hit Lapina with its own suit alleging that she fabricated the issues in relation to Schwarkzkopf as an excuse to break her contract. We say “big call” by Women Managment but let us continue…

Our leggy Latvian is now being sued by Women Management who claim that they made her a star and her repayment is a defection to a new agency.  The New York Daily News has reported that Women Management is claiming that the 25 year old is only where she is today in the modelling game because of the work that her agency has put in over the last 6 years to promote her and build her career.

One would assume that Lapina may also have something to do with where she is today considering that she came to New York in 2005 as a 16 year old, signed to an agency that was not Women Management, and worked for some 3 years prior to signing up to her former agency in 2008.

But it seems that this has gone unnoticed by Women Management who has taken its legal business to the Manhattan Supreme Court, (Lapinta’s suit sits in the Federal Court) where it is claimed that “Lapina and DNA maliciously acted in bad faith to manufacture a false pretext for Lapina to breach” her contract by having her file the federal lawsuit.  Being in the litigation game for some time I can tell you that there are easier ways to break a contract than issuing proceedings in a superior court…but I digress.

Women Management want Lapina to serve out the remaining 16 months of her contract and in effect appear to be seeking orders for specific performance. Generally speaking Courts are reluctant to force parties to remain in a contractual relationship if the matter can be settled with the provision of adequate damages so in my opinion Women is on a losing streak with the specific performance order but all will be revealed as we move forward on this one.

Unsurprisingly, the allegations have been denied by DNA.

Interestingly, it has been reported in the New York Daily News that in Women’s court papers it claims that “Lapina is a unique and irreplaceable talent.” Strategically this may just be a faux pais on Women’s behalf. Let’s take a moment to think laterally here. If Lapina is successful against Women Management and/or Schwarzkopf she will also have to prove her damages. It could not hurt her at all that Women is claiming that she is such a unique and irreplaceable talent. If anything one would think that this would assist her claim that Schwarzkopf is not a product that a “unique and irreplaceable talent” would promote for a paltry payment, by super model standards, of $19,700. But hey, that’s just common sense talking here.

Women may also be stepping into dangerous territory with this one insofar as they appear to be trying to make an example out of Lapina. It has been reported in New York Daily News that Women claims in its Court documents that “it will suffer “irreparable” financial harm “if top models such as Lapina are permitted to freely breach their fixed term contracts.”

This kind of strategic play has never turned out well for anyone.

First, notwithstanding what the ‘black letter’ law says a Judge is unlikely to take great pity on an agency that turns over millions a year on the back of young girls most of whom do not have legal representation when entering into contracts and many of whom that have English as a second language. Arguably, Women Management got its 6 years worth and we should all move on maybe with some compensation payable by Lapina’s new agency. Second, the sisters (and brothers) in the modelling world are unlikely to see this as a vote of confidence in their own agencies. The mentality of “if it can happen to Ginta it can happen to me” is likely to creep in faster than you can say Kale and Goji Berries and models will start dotting their “I’s” and crossing their “t’s” with greater vigilance when dealing with their agencies and clients.

All we can say is watch this space as this saga is unlikely to go away quietly.

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Model Ginta Lapina Preserving Her Brand In the Courts

Source – Elle Espana

Plaintiff:         Ginta Lapina, 25 year old Latvian fashion model contracted to Women Management who has done campaign work for Anna Sui, Diet Coke, DKNY and Jill Stuart and modelled for DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Caroline Herrera, Anna Sui, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs

Defendants:         Schwarzkopf, hair products company and Women Management who have managed Lapina since 2008, when she debuted at New York Fashion Week.

What is this suit all about:

Lapina  claims that she was “tricked” and misled into doing a campaign for Schwarzkopf after being told that it was for a campaign for Karl Lagerfeld. Lapinta’s claim, filed in the Manhattan Federal Court, also claims that her image was used without her permission and she was not properly compensated for the work done.

The New York Daily News has reported most comprehensively on the case to date and has informed readers that it appears this all started in July last year when our leggy Latvian took off for Paris, at the direction of her agency, on the belief that she was doing a photo shoot by Karl Lagerfeld to accompany an interview with the designer for a story called the “Schwarzkopf Look 2014 Trends.”

The Schwarzkopf Look 2014 Trends advertorial was not billed as an advertising campaign and therefore Lapina was only to be compensated for her time for the photo shoot.  There was to be no money paid for the use of her image.  According to Lapina’s court papers, as reported in the New York Daily News, Schwarzkopf struck a deal with Women Management and the agency permitted the advertising campaign to go ahead with Lapina being paid a measly $19,700 for her time. All this allegedly without Lapina’s knowledge or authorisation.

Lapina alleges in her claim that the deal has “diluted” her brand, because “Schwarzkopf products and look of advertisement are not of the caliber normally endorsed by a model of [her] stature in the industry.”  Typically, the suit says, models of Lapina’s “caliber and renown are solicited for advertising campaign by clients ‘willing to pay a model a high-six figure sum.’”

According to the suit, ‘the Defendants conspired to obtain a top model for an advertising campaign without having to pay the usual and customary compensation that a top model commands.’  

Coupled with particulars of Lapina’s previous campaigns it would seem that the above statements will go some way to justifying the $1 million or so in damages that she is claiming plus an order barring Schwarkopf from using the pics.

Interestingly, it seems that the relationship between Lapina and her agency is on shaky ground considering statements made by Women CEO Sergio Leccese to New York Daily News that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the claim. It seems that Women are denying the allegations and intend to seek their own remedies in connection with the dispute.

Considering that last year Lapina agreed to renew an exclusive management contract with Women Management through to January 2016 we can only wait and see how this will play out.

Guccio Gucci Arrested for Fraudulent Bankruptcy

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Source: Daily Mail                        Source: thelocal.it

Firenze – 11 September 2014

Guccio Gucci, the great grandson of the founder of Gucci is currently under house arrest at his home in Firenze on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy.

The allegations arise following Signor Gucci filing for bankruptcy for his company Esperienze Srl, the creator of the  “To Be G” hand bag range, in December 2013.  Signor Gucci is accused of diverting some 800,000 Euro of cash and assets from the company to meet his personal debts prior to filing for bankruptcy.  He also faces charges of fraudulent tax evasion totalling 400,000 Euro.

According to Italian authorities the assets were transferred to a new company with its head office in Perugia also run by Gucci and his co-conspirator, Sergio Moroni, the Chief Legal Officer of Esperienze Srl.  Signor Moroni has also been charged.

In securing the arrest warrant Prosecutor Christine Von Borries said that Signor Gucci, acting with another conspirator “emptied the coffers of the company so as to render debt collection by the Italian Inland Revenue of 386,000 euros for the years 2007-12 impossible.”

In determining to order the arrest of Signor Gucci the investigating magistrate is reported to have said “We are not looking at the classic example of problems of a company that has failed because of the crisis. The operation was a complex one and was designed almost entirely to pay off some debts.’

To date the Italian authorities have recovered 400,000 Euros.

Under Italian Criminal Law directors and officers of bankrupt companies can be punished with imprisonment from 3 to 10 years if they are found to have committed a crime associated with fraudulent bankruptcy including diversion, concealment…or dissipation of all or part of the company’s assets.  An essential precondition for the criminal liability is an intention to direct the company’s assets to a different destination from the company’s corporate purposes and to have the creditors of the company.