Post Malone and his legal team have officially accused the plaintiff in a “Circles” copyright infringement lawsuit of committing “egregious discovery violations” by concealing and modifying “critical evidence.”
This shocking twist in the years-running dispute just recently came to light in a motion for discovery sanctions submitted by the counsel of Post Malone and “Circles” producer Frank Dukes.
The underlying courtroom confrontation centers on a purported August of 2018 songwriting and recording session for “Circles.” Plaintiff Tyler Armes, besides claiming to have been present for said session, maintained in the initial complaint that he’d co-written the 2019 track (which boasts 1.81 billion plays on Spotify) and was therefore entitled to a stake.
Equally as important, Armes indicated that he’d been invited to participate in the songwriting session and attend multiple concerts with Post Malone by the latter’s manager, Dre London.
Post Malone and his team fired back with a countersuit in April of 2020, and now, as initially mentioned, the defendants are taking aim at Armes for allegedly concealing and altering evidence.
This evidence refers specifically to a series of text messages that the plaintiff is said to have sent Dre London during “the critical time frame at issue in this case.” London isn’t a party to the suit, but the defendants relayed that they’d discovered the missing texts while preparing to bring him in as a witness for the scheduled October trial.
More pressingly, the plaintiff allegedly swore under oath (during a February of 2022 deposition) that he’d “produced all correspondence between him and London”; discovery wrapped that same month. Nevertheless, the series of undisclosed messages, sent from “the same phone” and “the same chain of texts” as those that Armes did provide, were omitted from the record because they “are damaging to his claim,” according to the filing.
“Those highly relevant text messages speak for themselves, reflecting absolutely nothing about any invitation for songwriting, or frankly any invitation to come to any shows,” the legal document reads.
Additionally, the messages demonstrate that Armes “was trying to insert himself into these events,” according to the “I Like You (A Happier Song)” artist’s attorneys, who also took the opportunity to reiterate that “none of these text messages were produced by Plaintiff in discovery, even though Plaintiff produced other messages from this very same time period.”
Next, in a series of allegedly concealed text messages sent to London shortly after the purported Post Malone songwriting session, Armes “says NOTHING ABOUT ANY SONGWRITING SESSION during which he allegedly co-authored a song, his first alleged songwriting session with a huge star like Post, even though the session was allegedly orchestrated by London.”
Lastly, the filing highlights a number of other, allegedly modified texts sent by the plaintiff in 2019, including for good measure a side-by-side comparison of his discovery disclosure and the complete exchange as seen from London’s phone.
And after driving home the “intentional” nature of the alleged omissions, the motion emphasizes that “terminating sanctions are the appropriate remedy” and calls for an opportunity to “forensically image” the plaintiff’s cellphone and perform a second deposition in the absence of a dismissal.