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“Substantial irregularities” in Kanye records, says counterclaim

Several Lloyd’s of London insurers are counter-suing Kanye West, alleging representatives for the rapper’s company, Very Good Touring (VGT), “wilfully concealed and or misrepresented relevant facts” in an effort to thwart underwriters’ investigation into the partial cancellation of his Saint Pablo tour.

West called off the remainder of the North American tour on 21 November 2016, two days after cutting short a show in Sacramento and embarking on a 25-minute, apparently unscripted onstage rant praising Donald Trump and criticising Hillary Clinton, Jay Z, Beyoncé and Facebook. He was later admitted to a Los Angeles mental hospital, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, apparently suffering from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

Earlier this month it was reported VGT was suing several syndicates at Lloyd’s of London, the insurance market, for breach of contract after they refused to pay out for the cancelled shows. The suit alleges the Lloyd’s insurers told West that “they may deny coverage of the claim on the unsupportable contention that use of marijuana by Kanye caused the medical condition”.

In a counterclaim, filed in US district court for central California on Tuesday, five Lloyd’s underwriters – Cathedral Syndicate 2010, Liberty Syndicate 4472, XL Catlin Syndicate 2003, Markel Syndicate 3000 and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty – deny implying that West’s use of cannabis “provides the sole basis” for their denial of the US$10.8m claim, instead accusing his representatives of sabotaging their investigation, “contrary to the duties of cooperation VGT agreed to as a condition” of the policy.

“Throughout underwriters’ investigation, VGT and its legal, medical and other agents and representatives have delayed, hindered, stalled and/or refused to provide information both relevant and necessary for underwriters to complete their investigation of the claim,” reads the complaint.

The investigation has turned up “substantial irregularities in Mr West’s medical history”

“Underwriters are informed and believe, and thereon, these same persons have wilfully concealed and or misrepresented relevant facts in an effort to thwart underwriters’ investigation.”

The suit also says the insurers’ investigation, based on “documents and other information necessary to determine VGT’s entitlement to coverage under the policy”, has turned up “substantial irregularities in Mr West’s medical history”, although it declined to provide specifics.

While the plaintiffs – who have demanded a jury trial – maintain they are unable to reach a conclusion until VGT supplies “additional information requested” as part of their investigation, West’s lawyer, Howard King, criticised the counterclaim as amounting to the “same generic response Lloyd’s files in all cases when they don’t want to honour a legitimate claim but can’t find a factual basis to deny a claim.

“We look forward to the day a jury awards our client the full amount of the policy he purchased, plus interest at 10% per annum, along with punitive damages.”

A similar lawsuit, brought by Foo Fighters against several Lloyd’s brokers for “inconsistent, erratic and unreasonable behaviour” after the partial cancellation of the band’s Sonic Highways tour, was dismissed by the same court last October.


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