Court Finds Jay-Z’s Unconscious Bias Claim Valid
In a case between clothing brand Iconix and Roc Nation, Jay-Z has successfully argued that he may be subject to unconscious bias due to a lack of African American arbitrators. The case has been on going after Iconix acquired Jay Z’s clothing brand, Rocawear, in 2007. The rapper produced merchandise bearing the Roc Nation logo and Iconix claimed this violated their Sale agreement. Jay-Z made a counterclaim in opposition.
Both parties were instructed to choose arbitrators from the American Arbitration Association however Jay-Z’s lawyers argued not a single African-American person could be identified on the roster. They successfully argued that the lack of black arbitrators would put Jay Z at a disadvantage.
The court petition reads: “[It] deprives litigants of colour of a meaningful opportunity to have their claims heard by a panel of arbitrators reflecting their backgrounds and life experience,” and would “deprive black litigants like Mr Carter and his companies of the equal protection of the laws”.
In what has been hailed as a historic victory by Jay-Z’s legal team, the court petition was upheld by Justice Saliann Scarpulla who halted the arbitration until mid-December earliest.