Canceled show costs Rain $8M
POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009
South Korean pop star and actor Rain and his managers were ordered yesterday to pay a Hawaii promoter more than $8 million in damages for canceling a 2007 concert in Honolulu.
A federal jury found Rain, his agency JYP Entertainment Co. and two South Korean promotion companies breached a contract to perform and defrauded Click Entertainment Inc.
Nearly $5 million was for punitive damages, with Rain and JYP each ordered to pay $2.4 million. An additional $1 million was awarded for damages related to the fraud, and $2,286,000 was given for breach of contract.
"That was the best we certainly could've hoped for under the circumstances," Click attorney Eric Seitz said. "I hope they send a message that people can't do the kind of things that this entertainer and his agents did. I think he received very bad advice. ... The decisions here were just horrible."
Seitz said Rain and his agencies never offered to settle the case.
"As soon as it was decided that the fraud claim was going to a jury, I think any competent lawyer would've tried to settle the case," Seitz said. "He never offered us a nickel."
The judgment is expected to trigger several lawsuits across the United States where the star abruptly canceled shows two years ago. A similar lawsuit was recently filed in Los Angeles, where Rain's concert at the Staples Center was scratched a couple of hours before show time.
"We're obviously very disappointed with the jury's decision in this matter," Rain's lead attorney, Jon Crocker, said. "We maintain our position that both JYP and Rain fulfilled all their obligations with regard to the Hawaii performance. We will continue to vigorously defend them, wherever these promoters bring these baseless lawsuits."
Rain's concert was canceled just days before the scheduled June 15, 2007, event at Aloha Stadium, where tickets were sold for as much as $300 each. It was supposed to be the first stop on the "Rain's Coming" U.S. tour.
The four-man, three-woman jury reached the verdict yesterday after deliberating for more than a day.
Click's president, Seung Su Lee, said he felt good and thankful. Lee said his impression of the pop star was much different from the public's — Rain is beloved across Asia and gaining a following in the United States, where he is entering into Hollywood films.
"I did not have such a good impression of Rain," Lee told reporters through an interpreter. "Not that I think that he's a con artist or thief, but for two years he has not made any apology to his fans in Hawaii, and he did not attempt to resolve any issues. That's why I don't feel good about that."
Lee testified that he lost nearly $1.5 million because of the cancellation, which also damaged his business reputation. He argued that Rain and his traveling entourage of 90 people never intended to perform in Hawaii, saying the crew never applied for proper visas or shipped their equipment.
Rain — whose real name is Jeong Ji-hoon — testified for 90 minutes, saying he had every intention of performing and that he had no hand in the cancellation.
Crocker argued the contract Lee had was not with Rain or JYP. It was with a company named Revolution Entertainment, owners of the North American rights to Rain's concerts, he said.
The lawyer also said a proper stage was not created for the star, in addition to Rain being unable to use his name in the United States because of a copyright challenge from a Beatles tribute band named Rain.
The 26-year-old Rain is widely popular across Asia, where his smooth dance moves have earned him the nickname of the "Justin Timberlake of Asia." He also gained popularity for his roles in Korean TV drama series, such as the hit "Full House."
In 2006, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Rain has been dabbling in Hollywood in recent years. He is scheduled to appear in a leading role in the upcoming action film "Ninja Assassin," directed by James McTeigue and co-produced by the Wachowski brothers. Rain made his Hollywood debut last year in a supporting role in the brothers' film "Speed Racer."