Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison were just handed a victory in their lengthy lawsuit against Marc Fisher. You may recall that in 2006, Marc Fisher (who’s name may sound familiar from the Gucci v. Guess case) acquired the Sigerson Morrison label and the corresponding intellectual property rights for $2.6 million. Sigerson and Morrison each retained a 10% stake in the company and were hired as “co-heads of design” for seven years.
Trouble seems to have started for Sigerson and Morrison when they came to believe that their designs were being knocked off for the lower discount lines owned by Fisher, a notorious copier. Then, in 2011, Sigerson and Morrison were fired from the company and filed suit, alleging breach of contract. Well, as of earlier this month, Manhattan state judge, Shirley Kornreich, found that the design duo was, in fact, fired without cause (despite Fisher’s claim that the duo was fired for failing to produce a presentable shoe line in time for a December 2010 show). As a result, the designers are entitled to nearly $2 million in back pay.
For the legally minded among us, Kornreich addressed Fisher’s claim that the designers were fired for cause (namely: for failing to produce a presentable shoe line in time for a December 2010 show), holding that Fisher waived the alleged breach by neglecting to take action at the time, and instead, waiting three months to fire the designers. Moreover, Fisher reportedly failed to provide notice of the breach to permit this time lapse, Kornreich held, citing Sauer v. Xerox, 5FedAppx 52, 56 (2nd Cir. 2001).
Still up for debate is whether Fisher is on the hook for accusations of sexual harassment. Sigerson and Morrison’s complaint, which was filed in 2011, accused Fisher of “making lewd comments and inappropriate gestures towards the women during their business relationship.” Kornreich briefly touched on the matter, stating: “It is undisputed that Fisher consistently behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner. However, the relevant inquiry is less about how Fisher behaved, and far more about how his behavior affected Kari and Miranda.” She reserved entering judgment until after trial on the remaining harassment claim. More to come …