Kim Kardashian West
OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) – A $100 million lawsuit filed against Kim Kardashian is far from "ridiculous and absurd," according to the businessman who is taking the action against the celebrity.
Oklahoma-based businessman David Liebensohn believes he has a strong case of breach of partnership and fraud, and says there is the correspondence and documents that allegedly show the reality TV star deliberately orchestrated an incident that led to him being cut out of a development deal.
But Marty Singer, Kardashian's attorney, told TMZ: "The lawsuit filed against Kim Kardashian is ridiculous and absurd."
The dispute centers on the development of Kardashian's Kimojis, which she uses to promote both herself and products.
Liebenhson told Legal Newsline that Kardashian's team approached him and two partners, Narayan - also known as Ryan - Shankar and Daniel Rice, after she expressed admiration for an application they developed. The app, called CensorGram, later CensorOut, was designed to filter out trolls, bullies and spammers on Instagram.
At the same time, the three were developing Wall Street and "sexy" emoji content, according to the complaint filed Feb. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Kardashian, named as Kardashian West in the suit, and her team, in meetings and in emails from June through August 2014, first expressed interest in investing in the blocking app, the complaint states.
The three then revealed their emoji idea, and, according to the filing, raised the possibility of developing Kimojis. Kimojis are a "set of animated emojis and GIFs of the Kardashian family," the complaint states.
After further discussions, it was agreed that Kardashian would file a patent application for Kimoji, which her team did so on Aug. 14, the complaint states. The 60-40 agreement in favor of the developers stated that the three would be involved in developing the technical elements of Kimoji, according to the filing.
Then came the falling out, Liebenhson told Legal Newsline, a claim detailed in the complaint. It centered on the allegations that one of the partners, Shankar, had a screenshot that contained personal information relating to her use of CensorOut and that he had disseminated it to "'all of Chicago,'" the complaint states.
"Kardashian West used this as an excuse to cancel the partnership," the complaint states.
The following day, she filed a $5 million lawsuit against the trio, alleging defamation and emotional distress.
"I myself was totally confused," Liebenhson told Legal Newsline, adding that he believes it was "staged anger" designed to sever the partnership and "screw all of us out of everything."
Singer, Kardashian's lawyer, told TMZ: "The parties entered into a binding settlement agreement 2014 in which Kim gave up multimillion dollar claims against Mr. Liebensohn and his partners.
"Mr. Liebensohn waited more than 4 years to claim the agreement wasn't binding on him. Kim commenced an arbitration in December 2018, and after Mr. Liebensohn was unsuccessful in stopping the arbitration he filed this meritless lawsuit. We feel very confident we will get the case dismissed."
Liebenhsohn, in his suit, claims he found out only in December that Kardashian knew of the screenshot prior to entering into the partnership.
"The Kimojis, originated by Liebensohn and App Social, were very profitable as all parties had anticipated. Kardashian West continues to use and profit off of the name 'Kimoji' on products that are not smartphone applications, expanding to phone cases and perfume for example - while it was Liebenshon, Mr. Rice and Mr. Shankar who came up with this name," the complaint states.
"Liebensohn invested every penny and all of his time and effort to get the applications into the right hands. He walked away with nothing expect financial and personal losses, while Kardashian West profited from his work without just compensation."