Krewella Lawsuit: A Commentary
By now you’ve probably heard the news of Kristopher Trindl (a.k.a. “Rain Man”), formerly of the group Krewella, suing his former bandmates, Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf. If not, do yourself a favor and read the entire thing:
Got all that? We’ll get back to it in a second, but first, let’s show you the response from Krewella:
“To our krew:
We woke up this morning to the lawsuit Kris filed against us. As you all know, there are two sides to every story. We ask our fans to please be patient and not come to any conclusions until we are able to respond to the lawsuit with the truth. Our team has advised that we don’t get into any specifics until we can properly respond to the false claims made—most importantly being that we did not kick Kris out of Krewella, he resigned. We’re having a really difficult time today. As we write this letter to you, we are in the studio working on the second album. Please hang in there with us, the truth will eventually come out. Thank you for being so supportive, we love you guys.
Love, Y & J”
So, basically, it’s the typical “he said/she said” nonsense that comes from band splits. Nothing out of the ordinary. It will probably make for a very entertaining episode of VH1’s “Behind The Music” one day.
Now, I’ll be honest: I didn’t believe the lawsuit was real. Not because I didn’t think that Trindl was out of the group; I had heard behind-the-scenes rumors of his split months ago. No, I didn’t believe it was real, because, well...the complaint was worded so plainly, I really thought it was gonna be a ruse. It smelled like a publicity stunt, cooked up to get people interested in new music, or a new tour, or whatever they have coming. It definitely reads more like a press release than a legal brief.
“16. From March of 2012 until March of 2013, it was non-stop music, good times and partying for the members of Krewella, and the money started rolling in. Kris and the Yousaf sisters were public about their drinking and partying, posting on the Internet video dispatches from the road that only served to stoke their popularity with an ever-growing worldwide fan base.”
Now, I’m no legal expert, but I have had to write some legal copy before, and it was always full of legalese and jargon that could cure any insomniac’s problem. So I definitely felt skeptical (especially since he’s only suing the Yousaf sisters, and not their management, even though he mentions them as partly to blame), but after digging deeper, it turns out that the case is, indeed, for real. So I’m sorry, Kristopher Trindl and Hallam & Hochberg, LLP., for ever doubting the validity of this case. Now we await the trial.
That is, of course, if it ever even gets to trial. After reading it over again (and talking to friend of mine, who is a legal expert, but asked to remain anonymous due to his job), I find myself doubting that there’s enough evidence for Trindl to have a case. Most points that Trindl states are essentially conclusary statements and probably won’t stand up in court. Conclusory statements are statements such as "They had this meeting with the goal of pushing out Trindl." How do they know that's what the purpose of the meeting was? Complaints are supposed to state facts and evidence, and then reach a legal conclusion based on those facts and evidence.
The complaint also states that there are no LLC operating arrangements, and all the business was done on oral agreements and understandings (implied contracts and fiduciary duties may exist, but can be very vague and difficult to prove). Even if he’s 100% accurate on everything he said, and the Yousaf sisters did allegedly boot him from the band to line their own pockets, he’s going to need to bring hard evidence into the case (text messages, emails, recorded phone conversations, etc.) if he has any shot of even bringing this to trial, let alone winning.
At the end of the day, what it appears we have here is the ever-occurring case of bad music business management: a couple of friends (and lovers) started making music together, started becoming successful, and never thought to put anything in writing. And now that it’s over, everybody wants what they feel they’ve earned, but will end up with nothing due to not paying attention to the details. It’s a tale older than most of Krewella’s fan base, and will not be the last time that you ever hear it. Whether or not this is how it plays out depends on if “Rain Man” can back up his accusations with proper evidence.
So let this be a lesson to all of you trying to make it in this (or any) business: PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING! It’s a lot more fun performing on stage, and doing what you love, than spending your days dealing with lawyers.