A man who unsuccessfully sued Cardi B after his giant back tattoo was unwittingly photoshopped into one of her album covers has agreed to repay a whopping $350,000 in legal bills that the superstar spent defeating his lawsuit.
Months after a jury rejected Kevin Brophy’s case against Cardi, his lawyers told a federal judge Monday (June 12) that he would not only reimburse the money that the rapper had dropped on her attorneys but also voluntarily end his efforts to revive the case and waive any chance at a future appeal.
Why would he do all that? Possibly because Cardi’s lawyers were gearing up to formally demand that he repay her attorneys’ fees — a prize to which she was potentially eligible after beating his accusations in court. Under that process, Cardi and her pricey team of lawyers could have won even more than $350,000.
“The parties now have reached an agreement avoiding the necessity of defendants’ motion for attorney’s fees and application to tax costs,” the two sides wrote in Monday’s filing, hinting at the looming threat of such a fee motion from Cardi’s team.
Attorneys for both sides declined to comment on the agreement when reached by Billboard on Monday.
Brophy sued Cardi in 2017 for millions in damages, claiming he was “devastated, humiliated and embarrassed” by the cover of Cardi’s Gangsta Bitch. The image featured the then-rising star taking a swig of a large beer, staring directly into the camera with her legs spread wide and holding a man’s head while he appears to perform oral sex on her.
The actual man in the image was a model who had consented to the shoot, but a giant tattoo on the man’s back belonged to Brophy. Unbeknownst to Cardi, a freelance graphic designer had typed “back tattoos” into Google Image Search, found one that fit (Brophy’s) and superimposed it onto the model’s body.
Brophy’s lawsuit claimed Cardi and others involved in the cover had used his likeness without his consent and also violated his right to privacy by casting him in a “false light” that was “highly offensive.” Cardi’s lawyers called the allegations “sheer fantasy” and “vastly overblown,” arguing that nobody would have recognized a relatively unknown man based merely on his back.
During a four-day trial in October, Cardi took the stand to defend herself. When examined by Brophy’s attorney, A. Barry Cappello, things repeatedly got heated between the two — so much so that at one point the judge cleared the jury, told Cappello he had “totally crossed the line” and threatened to declare a mistrial.
At the end of the trial, the jury agreed with the superstar’s defenses, clearing Cardi of all Brophy’s claims. Brophy later asked the judge to throw out the verdict for a lack of evidence, but the judge denied that motion in December. Brophy then filed a motion in January seeking a new trial, arguing that the star “engaged in theatrics” on the witness stand and deprived him of a fair trial.
Under Monday’s agreement, that motion will be withdrawn, and Brophy will “waive and irrevocably relinquish” any chance to challenge the verdict on appeal. In return, Cardi’s attorneys will similarly waive their right to file a motion formally seeking an award of attorneys’ fees.