Just days after a legal battle between Why Dont We’s managers David Loeffler and Randy Phillips went public, the boy band is now petitioning the California Labor Commission to throw out its contract with Loeffler and management company Signature Entertainment for violating the state’s Talent Agencies Act.
In a petition filed Thursday (Sept. 2), the band’s attorney, Alan Gutman, accuses Loeffler and his colleague Steven Miller of operating as the band’s talent agent without a license from the California Labor Commissioner. The members of Why Don’t We — Daniel Seavey, Jonas Marais, Corbyn Besson, Jack Avery and Zach Herron — are now asking the labor commission to rule the contracts are unenforceable and that Signature Entertainment has no right to compensation from the band because neither Loeffler nor Miller obtained a signed talent agency agreement with the group’s five members. Gutman also wants Signature to pay the band any money Signature has received for its work with Why Don’t We in the last year.
The band’s relationship with Loeffler hit a breaking point earlier this summer when Loeffler fired partner Randy Phillips from the investment company that controls Signature Entertainment, effectively ending Phillips’ management of the band. After Phillips’ firing, Loeffler claims the members of Why Don’t We refused to sign a new recording contract with Atlantic or perform unless Phillips was reinstated as manager.
Loeffler then sued Phillips and the five individual band members on Aug. 17 in Orange County Court in Orlando, Florida, for anticipatory breach of contract and tortious interference with a business relationship. He’s alleging that Phillips was violating Loeffler’s exclusive right to “advise, counsel, direct, and assist” each band member “in connection with all matters relating to their careers in all branches of the entertainment industry,” according to Loeffler’s attorney Michael R Levin.
Phillips responded with his own lawsuit on Aug. 25, claiming that the band endured “nightmarish behavior” while under Loeffler’s supervision “at a rental property that had been secured for them to develop music,” including charges that “Loeffler did not allow them to have friends or visitors, did not feed them properly, and each night set a house alarm, which they did not know the code to, to make sure they did not leave.” In that case Phillips is asking a judge to expel Loeffler from the LLC that owns Signature Entertainment and hand control back to Phillips in a legal process known as disassociation.
Gutman is attempting to have the 2016 contracts negotiated between Signature Entertainment (of which Phillips is a signatory) and the band members tossed, arguing the documents are a “fraudulent” way to get around licensing requirements and other Talent Agency Act regulations.
Gutman is also asking the California Labor Commission for an order waiving the band of any liability to Signature Entertainment as well as an order requiring the company pay Why Don’t We’s legal fees.