Cadwalader Secures Global Settlement Between Leading Spirits Company and Former Celebrity Spokesperson

January 17, 2024

On January 16, 2024, Cadwalader's client, the world’s leading spirits company, announced a global settlement ending litigation and officially severing all business ties with its former spokesperson, a high-profile entrepreneur and music personality.

The spokesperson and our client also co-owned a premium tequila brand through a joint venture established in 2013. In May 2023, the spokesperson filed a lawsuit in New York state court alleging that the company failed to provide the joint venture with resources proportional to its other tequila brands, and that its purported mistreatment of the joint venture was motivated by racial animus—claims our client categorically denied. In a separate proceeding in New York state court, the spokesperson also sought injunctive relief to compel the company to fund and release new advertising featuring him as the “face” of the joint venture’s tequila. In a joint statement issued January 16, the spokesperson withdrew the allegations of racism, retaliation and unequal treatment, and all pending claims between the parties have been dismissed with prejudice. As a result, the parties have no ongoing business relationship, and the company is now the sole owner of the tequila brand.

Ellen V. Holloman led the Cadwalader team representing the company, including partners Adam Magid, Mike Petrella, Amanda Devereux, Dorothy Auth, Jared Stanisci, Stephen Fraidin, Richard Brand, Greg Patti and Erica Hogan; special counsel Howard Wizenfeld, Mark Singer and Simon Walsh; Litigation associates Jaclyn Hall, Victor Celis, Sam Mann, Elizabeth Moore, Magan Haycock, Gabriella Balbin, Jayshree Balakrishnan, Rachel Skene, Rikesh Patel, Cameron Kasanzew and Gareth Rund; Corporate associates Lindsay Kister, Iian Logan and Daniel Morrison; Capital Markets counsel Gary Schuler and associate A. Knepley; and Finance associates Wilson Chow, Jeannine Olmo and Jack Sullivan. CWT worked closely with co-counsel Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, including Roberta Kaplan, Timothy Martin, D. Brandon Trice and Kate Epstein, and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP, including Elena Norman, Tammy Mercer and James Hughes, to achieve this result.