A federal judge Friday (May 26) overturned an injunction that Adidas won secretly last year freezing $75 million in bank accounts held by Kanye West’s Yeezy brand — ruling that the sneaker giant had contravened procedural requirements and “disinherited” Yeezy. from the fair. Chance to challenge the freeze.
A week after the federal case against Yeezy was announced, judge Valerie E Caproni A ruling that Adidas had failed to “confirm” the order against Yeezy with additional proceedings in court — a key requirement under state law allowing such asset freezes.
“The plaintiff launches a barrage of unconvincing arguments in an effort to justify his failure to comply with the express language of the statute,” the judge wrote on Friday. “Without a hearing, Yeezy was denied an early opportunity to have the Court consider its merits’ challenges to the petitioner’s arguments.”
Not only had the freeze on Yeezy’s bank accounts been lifted, the judge said, it had actually been “rescinded six months ago when Adidas failed in a timely manner to act to confirm the matter.”
Yesi’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. An Adidas spokesperson declined to comment.
Adidas filed the lawsuit against Yeezy on November 11, just weeks after the German sneaker company publicly ended its long-term relationship with the embattled rapper (sometimes known as Ye) in the wake of his anti-Semitic remarks and other antics. Adidas did this because it believes approximately $75 million of its money is currently in Yeezy’s bank accounts, and wanted to make sure that money didn’t disappear while the two companies prosecuted their divorce via private arbitration.
Judge Caproni quickly granted the company’s request for a “hold” order on a so-called one-party basis — meaning the judge issued the freeze without giving Yeezy a chance to present counterarguments. It did so because it ruled that there was a “risk of Yeezy removing or squandering the assets” if it had been notified in advance of the Adidas lawsuit.
The case and verdict were filed “under seal” until last week when a judge ordered the records to be released to the public.
In recent weeks, attorneys for Adidas and Yeezy have argued over whether the asset freeze should remain in effect in the future. Adidas’ lawyers said West displayed a “pattern of flippant behaviour” and was in “extreme financial stress”, jeopardizing the company’s ability to recover money it believed it would win in the pending arbitration battle.
But attorneys for Yeezy said Adidas “failed to show that it deserved such an order in the first place.” They argued vigorously that Adidas had failed to meet the requirements of such an order, specifically by not moving to “confirm” the order within five days.
In Friday’s ruling, Judge Caproni agreed, ruling that “Adidas’ failure to file a request for confirmation invalidates the attachment order.” The ruling means that Yeezy’s bank accounts will no longer be frozen in the previous order.
But that doesn’t mean Yeezy or West are off the hook. The arbitration case brought by Adidas — the original reason it sought to freeze the funds — is still pending, and Yeezy could still owe some or all of that money when the case is finally decided.
The judge also left the door open for Adidas to “renew its application” in future proceedings, meaning it could again seek to freeze Yeezy’s assets in some capacity. Only this time, it will likely be through actions that involve detailed arguments from both sides.