Ramon E. Rivera
August 22, 2012
On the heels of an employment lawsuit
filed by her former driver, Jennifer Lopez is fighting back. She recently filed a countersuit that accuses driver Hakob Manoukian of extortion.
According to court documents, Manoukian allegedly demanded that “unless Manoukian was paid $2.8 million, he would disclose sensitive and personal information that he allegedly heard while driving Lopez.” The lawsuit also contends that the former driver made “other ominous threats to report Ms. Lopez to the ‘authorities’ if his demands were not met.”
As we previously discussed on this sports and entertainment law blog
, the dispute began when Manoukian filed a lawsuit contending he was wrongly terminated after he clashed with the singer’s manager, Benny Medina. Manoukian claims he was demoted, stripped of certain job responsibilities, and denied production pay after his relationship with Medina soured.
Lopez, however, details a different series of events in her lawsuit. She alleges that Manoukian “became hostile and angry because he mistakenly and unreasonably believed he had the unqualified right to designate the security team and profit from any budgetary allocations for such security.”
As this case highlights, there are often two sides to every entertainment lawsuit, both of which will play out in the media when a celebrity is involved. Unless the parties can reach a settlement, it will likely be up to a jury to determine which side has both the facts and the law on their side.
For more information about the legal issues involved, please contact Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Sports and Entertainment Law Group.