Image: Liu Jo

Kendall Jenner and Liu Jo have settled a lawsuit accusing the model of breaching a contract to provide modeling services for the Italian fashion brand in the midst of the COVID pandemic. According to the complaint that it filed in a New York federal court in August 2021 against Jenner and her agency Society Model Management and its parent company Elite World, Liu Jo S.p.A alleged that it entered into a deal with Jenner to take part in two photoshoots for the brand in exchange for $1.5 million plus a 20 percent service fee. While the first photoshoot went well, the deal went south, Liu Jo alleged, when Jenner failed to do the second one, thereby, running afoul of the parties’ contract. 

Liu Jo alleged that “despite all best efforts and multiple proposed alternative arrangements for the second photoshoot,” which was slated for the fall of 2020, it was “consistently met with silence or rejection on the part of Ms. Jenner.” When the model “did respond to Liu Jo’s proposals, [which was] generally weeks or months after ignoring multiple emails and phone calls, she consistently rejected Liu Jo’s attempts to reschedule the photoshoot.” Jenner argued in her defense in October 2020 that she “was not in breach of the agreement, and that it was ‘impossible’ for [her] to travel to Italy in the Fall of 2020” in light of “health concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic.” The problem with that, according to Liu Jo, was that Jenner had traveling to Italy for a Versace photo shoot a month prior “during the same time period the parties contemplated for the second [Liu Jo] photoshoot to occur.” 

“In sum,” Liu Jo alleged that “Jenner made no good-faith effort to reschedule the second photoshoot or perform [other] obligations detailed in the agreement, despite Liu Jo’s flexibility and multiple proposed alternatives, and despite Liu Jo making payment to Ms. Jenner for services she refused to render.” Due to Jenner’s “refusal to negotiate in good faith,” Liu Jo alleges that it was “forced to find replacement models and restructure its entire Spring/Summer 2021 photoshoot – at great expense.” 

In the motion to dismiss and corresponding support memo that they filed in September, Society Model Management and Elite World argued that the case should be tossed out in its entirety, claiming that it was actually the brand that is in the wrong in connection with the deal, as “in light of the rapidly developing emergency [COVID-19] situation in Italy, Liu Jo requested a lengthy postponement of the second shoot” in March of 2020, which Jenner agreed to “even though this meant the usage of her name, image and likeness by Liu Jo would be extended, thereby forcing [her] to pass on other valuable opportunities.” 

Shortly thereafter, the agencies argue that “Liu Jo unreasonably tried to pressure Ms. Jenner into appearing for an in-person shoot in Europe as Italy’s COVID-19 numbers were spiking in the midst of the turmoil of the global pandemic.” Jenner “continued to try to work with Liu Jo to reschedule the second shoot subject to her availability and with appropriate safety considerations in mind,” but the agency defendants claim that the brand “attempted a bait and switch … to force a result that was precluded by the term sheet” by trying to “cancel the second shoot and the contract altogether by informing Ms. Jenner that they had changed their marketing strategy and requested that Ms. Jenner instead appear in a different campaign for a different fashion brand.” 

Fast forward to April 11 and Liu Jo moved to voluntarily dismiss the case after reaching a settlement with Jenner and co. According to the stipulation of voluntary dismissal that it lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, Liu Jo is dropping all claims against Jenner, Elite World, and The Society Model Management with prejudice and with each party bearing their own costs, expenses, and attorney’s fees. The dismissal further states that Liu Jo and the defendants “have agreed to terms and conditions representing a negotiated settlement of this action and have set forth those terms in a confidential settlement agreement.”

The case formally came to a close on Wednesday, with Judge Stanton signing off on the voluntary dismissal.   

The case is Liu Jo, S.P.A. v. Kendall Jenner, et. al., 1:21-cv-06543 (SDNY).