Las Vegas–A Reno-based company intentionally interfered with business relationships established by Bob Marley’s heirs and must pay the family at least $300,000 in damages, a Las Vegas jury ruled Friday.
Jurors ruled that AVELA, a corporation based in Reno, and owner Leo Valencia, a San Diego resident, intentionally interfered with the family’s business relationships and engaged in unfair competition by selling T-shirts and other products bearing Bob Marley’s image. The products have been sold across the country at retail stores such as Target, Walmart and Wet Seal.
“The verdict sends a clear message to anyone who would challenge the integrity of our father’s legacy,” Rohan Marley, son of the late reggae musician, said in a written statement. “Preserving it remains one of our top priorities and we will continue to aggressively pursue legal actions against those who attempt to unfairly profit from his life and legacy.”
Jurors awarded the plaintiffs $300,000 in damages on the claim of intentional interference. U.S. District Judge Philip Pro is expected to award additional damages after he determines the amount of lost profits caused by the unfair competition.
The jury found that all the defendants willfully engaged in unfair competition, but the panel found that JEM and Central Mills did not intentionally interfere with the Marleys’ business relationships.