A Houston judge ruled late Thursday (Jan. 19) that Megan Thee Stallion’s manager, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, must sit for a deposition in the star’s ongoing war with her record company, rejecting Megan’s arguments that the label was “harassing” Perez by seeking to depose her.
For months, the two sides sparred over whether the Roc Nation big wig must answer questions from lawyers for 1501 Certified Entertainment amid Megan’s litigious split with the Houston-based label. The company’s lawyers called Perez “one of the most critical” witnesses in the case; Megan’s lawyers said 1501 was simply trying to “harass” a busy executive who had little pertinent info to share.
In a ruling made public on Thursday afternoon, Judge Robert Schaffer sided with 1501 — denying a motion from Megan’s lawyers seeking a so-called protective order that would have shielded Perez from the deposition. Though he ruled on detailed arguments from both sides, the judge included no written opinion explaining his rationale for the decision.
It’s unclear when such a sit-down between 1501’s lawyers and Perez will take place. A representative for Megan and for Roc Nation did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.
The star rapper (real name Megan Pete) has been fighting with 1501 for more than two years, claiming the company duped the young artist into signing an “unconscionable” record deal in 2018 that was well-below industry standards. She says that when she signed a new management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation in 2019, she got “real lawyers” who helped her see that the deal was “crazy.”
That core dispute has mushroomed into additional litigation, with both sides accusing the other of various forms of wrongdoing and claiming millions in damages. A judge ruled in December that the case will need to be decided by a jury trial; a date has not yet been set.
With both sides preparing to make their case, 1501 sought to have Perez sit for a deposition — meaning she would meet with the company’s lawyers and answer questions about Megan’s case under oath. But the rapper’s lawyers quickly threw a challenge flag in November, seeking the protective order that would have shielded Perez from what they called “gamesmanship” by 1501.
Megan’s lawyers pointed to what’s known as the apex doctrine, which limits when high-ranking executives can be forced to give a deposition. (That’s the same rule that Spotify cited last year when it tried to shield CEO Daniel Ek from questioning in a copyright lawsuit.) Under the apex doctrine, busy top officials only need to testify when they have unique info that can’t be derived from other less burdensome sources.
The label quickly fired back in December, arguing that Perez was instead a key “fact witness” who had been “directly, personally, and substantially involved in the underlying facts of the lawsuit.” They claimed she’d had direct conversations about whether Megan’s 2021 release Something for Thee Hotties counted as an “album” under her deal — a central dispute in the case. And they said Perez had personally negotiated one of Megan’s record contracts at issue in the lawsuit.
Attorneys for 1501 declined to comment on the decision on Friday.