Migos, the multi-platinum selling trio from Atlanta consisting of rappers Quavo, Offset and Takeoff, have been served with a civil lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court. Celebrity stylist Marcus Clark initiated and filed the suit claiming the artists walked off the set of Niykee Heaton’s “Bad Intentions” video, with twenty thousand dollars worth of loaned clothing and never returned it. Clark is suing for one million dollars in damages.
Migos are most recently known for their chart-topping hit “Bad and Boujee”. However, Marcus Clark is accusing the group of just being plain bad. According to Clark’s petition, Clark outfitted the crew for the video in the following high-end items:
- 3 Enfants Riches Déprimés shirts, $18,138
- 2 pairs of vintage sunglasses (Versace and Les Copains), $700
According to TMZ, Clark asserts that he spent a significant amount of time attempting to retrieve the items. Ultimately, he simply received a text from the Migos’ manager which read “That’s over with.” The Migos were sued under the civil conversion laws in California.
Conversion is an intentional tort that evolved to protect against interference with possessory and ownership interests in personal property. It consists of the wrongful exercise of dominion or control over personal property, which so seriously interferes with another’s right to control the property that the converter is required to pay the other the full value of the property as damages for the conversion.
Three elements required to establish a cause of action for conversion: (1) plaintiff’s ownership or right to possession of the property at the time of the alleged conversion; (2) defendant’s conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of plaintiff’s property rights; and (3) damages.
Assuming the allegations of conversion are true, Clark must then prove his damages in this case. One may ask: if the converted items only added up to $20,000 then why is Clark suing for one million dollars? The answer lies in California Civil Code §3336. Here, there is a statutory presumption regarding the detriment caused by the wrongful conversion of personal property. According to the code, the measure of damages is presumed to be:
- the value of the property at the time of the conversion, with interest from that time, or
- an amount sufficient to indemnify the injured party for the natural, reasonable, and proximate results of the wrongful act complained of and which a proper degree of prudence on the plaintiff’s part would not have averted, and
- fair compensation for time and money properly spent in pursuit of the property.
Here, Clark has added up the value amount of the property, the taxes on the clothing, the time and effort he has spent to retrieve the items and undoubtedly some attorney’s fees. Also, exemplary or punitive damages are properly awarded in a conversion action, given the required proof by the plaintiff of malice, fraud or oppression. Even on the clearest proof of malice, in fact, the granting or withholding of the award of punitive damages is entirely within the control of the jury.
The lawsuit comes in the midst of a mixed bag of positive and negative news for the trap rappers. Their sophomore album Culture has just earned them their first number one album, moving and impressive 131,000 units. However, the group’s name was also recently brought up in the alleged assault of Sean Kingston.