Rufftown Entertainment is suing two original members of En Vogue for over $300 million, claiming the R&B group violated an exclusive recording contract by signing with another label after recent comeback efforts fizzled.
The suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges breach of contract, negligence, interference and fraud.
Rufftown owner René Moore says that he paid Cindy Herron, Terry Ellis and then-member Maxine Jones approximately $190,000 in 2010 in a deal that was to include two albums and touring. The advance included $40,000, plus travel costs, and $150,000 in studio fees.
After the comeback stalled, Jones was replaced in 2012 and they later signed with Pyramid Records. The plaintiffs allege that in July 2014 the current members of En Vogue conspired to sign the new contract with Pyramid, in violation of the terms of the exclusive pact with Moore and Rufftown. Fraudulent and illegal documents were used to promulgate the contract, according to the filing.
The lawsuit lists En Vogue Enterprises, Herron, Ellis, new member Rhonda Bennett, lawyer Allen Jacobi and Pyramid among the defendants. Jones is spared from the suit because she has “substantially performed her obligation under the agreement” except for elements that are impossible because of the “conduct of En Vogue.”
Moore is seeking more than $310 million in damages. TMZ first reported on the breach of contract lawsuit.
Jones and another original member of the group, Dawn Robinson, briefly formed a new En Vogue in 2012 before a judge ruled that Heron and Ellis owned exclusive rights to the name. Since then Robinson joined the reality show R&B Divas: L.A. and Jones has embarked on a solo career, though legal problems forced her to file for bankruptcy in 2014.
Formed in 1989 in Oakland, the group scored a number of hits in the 1990s including “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” “Free Your Mind” and “Whatta Man.”