Attorneys for Toni Braxton, the singer and Grammy Award winner, have announced that they are moving Ms. Braxton’s lawsuit to New York State Court against Barry Hankerson, her former manager, and Blackground Records, LLC, for fraud and breach of contract. Peter L. Haviland, trial counsel for Ms. Braxton, said he had decided that New York State court was the most appropriate and expeditious venue for the lawsuit, which was originally filed in federal district court on January 12. Mr. Haviland said that today’s filing in New York State Court would supercede the federal filing, which would be withdrawn. “We think this is the fastest route to getting Toni Braxton free and clear of Barry Hankerson,” said Haviland, “since we avoid wasting time on any possible dispute over federal jurisdiction of her claims.” The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Hankerson, her former manager, was guilty of a conflict of interest and fraud when he caused Ms. Braxton to leave Arista Records and join Hankerson’s own label, Blackground. The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages and a voiding of the Recording Agreement between Ms. Braxton and Blackground Records.
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