Claim No: xxxx
THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
In the name of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai
IN THE SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL
BEFORE H.E. JUSTICE SHAMLAN AL SAWALEHI
Hearing: 22 February 2016
Judgment: 2 March 2016
JUDGMENT OF H.E. JUSTICE SHAMLAN AL SAWALEHI
UPON hearing the Claimant and the Defendant
AND UPON reading the submissions and evidence filed and recorded on the Court file
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The Claimant’s claim as to the AED 3675 celebrity attendance fee is accepted. Thus, the Defendant is ordered to pay the Claimant AED 3675.
2. The Claimant’s claims regarding the ticket sales, Formula 1 Paddock ticket and general damages are rejected.
3. The Defendant is ordered to pay the Claimant’s Court Fees, in the amount of AED 1470.
4. The Claimant is Galima FZ LLC, formerly identified in the case by the name of its proprietor, xxxx.
5. The Defendant is Grage, formerly identified in the case by the name of its proprietor, xxxx.
Background and the Preceding History
6. The parties entered into a Consultancy Agreement (the “Agreement”) on 9 November 2015. The Agreement is listed as between Grage, the Defendant, and Galima FZ LLC, the Claimant.
7. Clause 6.6 of the Agreement identifies the law of England and Wales as governing the contract and confirms that the parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the DIFC with regard to disputes arising out of the Agreement. The compensation provisions listed in Clauses 5.6 through 5.9 are at issue in this dispute.
8. Clause 5.6 entitles the Claimant to a USD $500 fee for each celebrity or talent procured for the Defendant for the relevant events. The Clause goes on to state that the fee will be transferred to the Claimant immediately upon signature of a contract by both the talent and the Defendant.
9. Clause 5.7 entitles the Claimant to be paid 20% of the revenue from tickets sold to individuals to participate in the karting with the celebrities event.
10. Clause 5.9 entitles the Claimant to attend certain events and to receive one Paddock Ticket for 27-29 November 2015.
11. On 1 December 2015, the Claimant allegedly invoiced the Defendant for amounts owed, including the value of the Paddock Ticket and the celebrity procurement fees. The Defendant allegedly requested an updated invoice showing just the celebrity procurement fees but did not receive this updated invoice before this case was filed.
12. On 29 December 2015, the Claimant filed a case with the DIFC Courts in the Small Claims Tribunal alleging the below summarised claims.
13. No settlement was reached by the parties at the end of the consultation and, consequently, the case was sent for adjudication. On 22 February 2016 I heard submissions of the Claimant and the Defendant.
Particulars and Defence
14. The Claimant argues that she is entitled to compensation under the Consultancy Agreement she entered into with the Defendant and that she has not yet been paid these amounts. Her claims consist of USD $1000 for procurement of celebrity attendance at the relevant event, 20% of net ticket sales for the event and one Formula 1 Paddock Ticket valued at USD $5400. She also seeks USD $1600 in general damages against the Defendant.
15. The Claimant further argues that because the Defendant decided not to sell any tickets for the event, she misrepresented the terms of the compensation agreement causing the Claimant to expect a return on the tickets sold.
16. The Claimant alleges that she provided the Defendant with an invoice on 1 December 2015 indicating amounts due for the procurement of celebrities and compensation for the full price of the Paddock Ticket. The Claimant contends that the Defendant did not pay this invoice. Instead, the Defendant allegedly informed the Claimant that she would pay for the two celebrity procurements but did not end up making the actual payment to the Claimant.
17. The Claimant contends that she made many attempts to engage in settlement negotiations with the Defendant but the Defendant did not participate.
The Claimant also points out that the Defendant has not yet produced a copy of her trade license for the company Grage.
18. Thus, the Claimant seeks payment of the procurement fees (USD $1000), the Paddock Ticket (USD $5400) and general damages (USD $1600) for a total of USD $8000.
19. The Defendant responded to the claims, providing defences to all of the Claimant’s contentions.
20. With regard to the celebrity procurement fees, the Defendant first argues that the 1 December 2015 invoice had not yet become due at the time of the Claimant’s filing of this claim on 29 December 2015. Furthermore, the Defendant argues that the Claimant was to provide signed contracts from the celebrity talent. While the Claimant provided such contract for one of the celebrities, the contract was not adhered to by the celebrity in question and the contract was not duly signed by the celebrity himself. The Claimant allegedly did not provide this contract for the second celebrity. Finally, the Defendant claims that she asked for the Claimant to send her an updated invoice which was never received.
21. With regard to the Paddock Ticket, the Defendant argues that the Claimant had access to the relevant event, as far as possible. Furthermore, the Defendant argues that access to the events was a perk and there was no intent to reimburse the Claimant for the value of the ticket when some parts of the event became impossible to attend.
22. With regard to the failure to sell tickets to the relevant event, of which the Claimant would have received 20% of ticket sales under the contract, the Defendant argues that they decided not to sell tickets due to safety concerns which came about close to the event date. Therefore, the Defendant did not misrepresent the compensation agreement as the Defendant intended to sell tickets to the event at the time the contract was made.
23. The Defendant contends that the celebrity talent obtained by the Claimant failed to uphold their agreements and thus damaged the reputation of the Defendant’s company, Iconic Creative Events. Thus, in the Defendant’s response, the Defendant makes claims against the Claimant in the amounts of USD $55,000 plus damages of USD $10,000 and legal fees of USD $6000. The Defendant did not file a counterclaim against the Claimant.
24. In response to the Defendant’s claim that she requested an updated invoice, the Claimant filed an updated invoice with the Court on 24 January 2016 reflecting the payments due for the two celebrity procurement fees.
25. It is undisputed between the parties that the Claimant did procure two celebrities to attend the relevant event, in satisfaction of the Consultancy Agreement. While she did not perform the requirement of providing a properly signed contract between the talent and the Defendant, she did perform her contract duties to obtain talent to attend the event. The Agreement does not hold her responsible for any breach of the subsequent agreements by the talent she procured. Therefore, the Claimant is entitled to receive the USD $500 fee for both celebrities that she procured for the event.
26. With regards to the Paddock Ticket, the parties agreed at the hearing that the value of the Paddock Ticket was no longer at issue. Furthermore, even if it were still an issue, it is clear that the Paddock Ticket was meant to be a contract perk, along with attendance at certain events. While this perk should have been provided, there is no evidence provided by the Claimant that failure to provide it was in order to deprive the Claimant of the value of the ticket but instead, the Defendant claimed that the failure was due to outside constraints beyond the Defendant’s control. Due to this, the Defendant cannot be held responsible for the value of the Paddock Ticket, especially considering that the contract perk was meant to be the experience of attending the events not the monetary value of the ticket cost.
27. Finally, with regard to the contract clause entitling the Claimant to 20% of the Defendant’s ticket sales, there is no accurate way to measure what the value of this would have been, given that the Defendant did not end up selling tickets. Again, it is clear from the Defendant’s submissions that the decision not to sell tickets was made independently of the contract provision, not to avoid paying the Claimant. Furthermore, there has been no implication that the Defendant did in fact sell tickets and fail to pay the Claimant.
28. Furthermore, the Defendant did not breach the contract by failing to sell tickets. The contract did not guarantee a minimum payment from ticket sales. It also did not require the Defendant to sell tickets. Therefore, the Claimant is not entitled to any monetary reimbursement for the ticket sales that would have been made had the Defendant sold tickets.
29. Finally, with regard to the Claimant’s claim for general damages, there is no substantiation of why she should receive additional damages beyond what she was entitled to in the Consultancy Agreement and thus this claim fails.
Maha Al Mehairi
Date of issue: 2 March 2016
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