Suit Against James Brown Proceeds

A judge yesterday (Aug. 16) refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed against music legend James Brown by a former employee who claims the singer fired her because she turned down his demands for sex. Brown'

A judge yesterday (Aug. 16) refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed against music legend James Brown by a former employee who claims the singer fired her because she turned down his demands for sex. Brown's attorney, Debra Opri, argued that the case should be thrown out because of "lack of jurisdiction."

Brown lives in South Carolina and his company is based in Georgia, but plaintiff Lisa Agbalaya worked for him in Southern California. The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 28.

"It is not fair for Mr. Brown to transport his case all the way across the country" when the plaintiff need only "drive 20 minutes to the courthouse," Opri told Judge Mel Recana. Agbalaya's attorney, Matthew Herrell, argued that Los Angeles Superior Court was the correct venue for the suit. "This is a wrongful termination case and the wrongful termination occurred in California, in Los Angeles County," he said.

Agbalaya's lawsuit claims Brown, 68, continually harassed her and other female employees at the New James Brown Enterprises Inc., including demanding sex from them. She is seeking $2 million for sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

Outside of court, Brown's attorney said the singer feels he has become a target for disgruntled former employees who see him as a source of "easy money." "We adamantly deny all of the charges," she said. "We believe it is another form of extortion."


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