FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2018-03129,
DIVISION "I-14" Honorable Piper D. Griffin, Judge.
Richard P. Bullock BULLOCK & HAM, A PLC, COUNSEL FOR
N. Aguiluz, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Sandra Cabrina
Jenkins, Judge Paula A. Brown.
CABRINA JENKINS JUDGE.
I Am Music, LLC ("IAM") and Amos Singleton
(collectively, "Appellants") appeal the trial
court's May 31, 2018 Judgment granting a preliminary
injunction in favor of appellee Diedra Meredith, and ordering
the Appellants to deliver to Ms. Meredith computer files
containing 16 songs that were recorded at her live concert on
September 16, 2017. The Judgment also ordered that Ms.
Meredith furnish security for the issuance of the preliminary
injunction in the amount of $1, 000.00. Appellants timely
appealed. We find that the trial court erred in granting Ms.
Meredith a mandatory injunction without a full evidentiary
hearing where the standard of proof is by a preponderance of
the evidence. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
March 28, 2018, Ms. Meredith filed a verified Petition for
Breach of Contract, Damages, and Preliminary and Permanent
Injunction (the "Injunction Suit") against
Appellants. Ms. Meredith asserted that she was a recording
artist who performed under the name "Deepa Soul."
Ms. Meredith alleged that on or about June 2016, she entered
into a contract with Appellants whereby Ms. Meredith agreed
to perform professional services for Appellants -- including
but not limited to performing web-based services,
branding/marketing, creating an online business plan, and
producing a photo shoot -- in exchange for Appellants'
agreement to assist in the production of Ms. Meredith's
live album to be recorded at a concert at the Carver Theater
in New Orleans.
Meredith contends that, although she performed her
agreed-upon services for Mr. Singleton, he failed to timely
appear at the September 14, 2017 rehearsal for the live
concert. She claims that because of Mr. Singleton's late
appearance, the entire rehearsal could not be completed in
time to record certain tracks to be used in the live
recording. According to Ms. Meredith, she then retained the
services of a sound engineer, Orlando Henry, to manage the
recordings of her live concert on September 16, 2017. Ms.
Meredith contends that Mr. Singleton also failed to timely
appear at the live concert, causing a delay. Ms. Meredith
states that after her live concert, she delivered the
original recordings of the concert to Mr. Singleton so that
he could assist in completing the production of her live
album. She claims that on September 26, 2017, Mr. Singleton
repudiated the contract and demanded payment for his services
in producing the album. Ms. Meredith states that she had to
retain two background singers, Melaney Batiste and Jai Reed,
who recorded over-dub sessions with Mr. Singleton. According
to Ms. Meredith, she requested that Mr. Singleton return the
"Pro Tools HD" sessions to her so that she could
complete recording. To avoid additional delay and damages,
Ms. Meredith asked Mr. Singleton to "name his
price." Mr. Singleton did not respond, and continued to
work on the production of the album.
Injunction Suit, Ms. Meredith seeks damages, as well as a
"preliminary mandatory injunction ordering [Appellants]
to turn over immediate possession of the Pro Tools HD
sessions computer files of all 16 songs from the concert by
Deepa Soul, including background vocals for Melaney Batiste
and Jai Reid." Ms. Meredith also seeks a permanent
injunction confirming the preliminary injunction and her
ownership of the recordings.
April 13, 2018, the trial court signed an order setting a
hearing on the preliminary injunction for May 11, 2018. The
order stated that the matter would be heard upon the verified
pleadings and/or supporting affidavits, pursuant to La.
C.C.P. 3609. The trial court ordered Ms. Meredith to file her
affidavits not later than 72 hours prior to the hearing, and
ordered Appellants to file their affidavits not less than 24
hours prior to the hearing. None of the parties filed
were personally served with the Injunction Suit and the order
setting a hearing on April 27, 2018. Appellants' attorney
did not appear at the injunction hearing. The trial court
advised Mr. Singleton, a non-attorney, that he could not
represent IAM. Mr. Singleton was sworn in by the court, and
testified on his own behalf. Although Ms. Meredith was
present, she did not testify, relying on upon her verified
31, 2018, the trial court granted a preliminary injunction in
favor of Ms. Meredith, ordering Appellants to turn over the
computer files to her within five days. When Appellants
failed to do so, Ms. ...