Jay-Z (272720)

Jay-Z is no longer demanding a halt to arbitration with Iconix Brand Group because of a lack of available Black arbitrators at the American Arbitration Association, reports Billboard. On Sunday, an attorney for the hip-hop mogul informed a New York judge via letter that AAA had made a newfound commitment on the diversity front. According to the letter from Quinn Emanuel litigator Alex Spiro, who represents Jay Z (Shawn Carter), “While the information AAA provided has confirmed that AAA lacks an appreciable number of minority (and particularly, African-American) arbitrators, AAA has indicated an openness both to an arbitrator selection process in this Arbitration that will allow for meaningful consideration of African-American arbitrators and to broader remedial measures intended to improve the diversity of the arbitrator roster for future arbitrations.” Jay Z is fighting with Iconix over the scope of a $200 million deal signed a decade back governing the use of the “Roc Nation” trademark on baseball caps and other merchandise. In late November, Jay Z brought his diversity concerns to New York Supreme Court. He said AAA was only able to provide three neutrals it identified as African-American — and one had a conflict. “This blatant failure of the AAA to ensure a diverse slate of arbitrators for complex commercial cases is particularly shocking given the prevalence of mandatory arbitration provisions in commercial contracts across nearly all industries, which undoubtedly include minority owned and operated businesses,” write Spiro at the time. His motion for a temporary restraining order to halt the arbitration was granted, but it may have had as much — or even more — to do with the absence of the assigned judge than the merits of an argument that an arbitration process without African Americans violated New York’s public policy on discrimination. The merits of the argument will likely not be hashed over any further. Jay Z has now withdrawn his motion to stay the arbitration. A judge has accepted the withdrawal and set a status conference for March.