Girl group GFRIEND’s agency, Source Music, has won a lawsuit against a former trainee who was selected to be a member of GFRIEND, but suddenly quit before debuting.
The Seoul Central District Court has ordered former trainee “A” to pay the agency 12.5 million won (approximately $11,000), twice the amount of money paid for preparing her for the group.
“A,” who received vocal and dance training after signing a short-term training contract with Source Music in October 2013, met with the CEO in April of the following year, saying, “I would like to rest at home” and “I will quit” before failing to show up for practice.
Source Music agreed with the former trainee’s side to terminate the contract and notified them to submit the documents for contract cancellation and fulfill the breach of contract penalties. The original contract between the two parties states, “In the case that ‘A’ violates the terms of the contract by unilaterally breaking the contract, ‘A’ will pay twice the amount of costs invested by Source Music up until the point of contract termination, as a penalty.”
The agency filed a lawsuit against former trainee “A” after she failed to make any actions regarding the matter.
Source Music demanded 55.7 million won (approximately $49,000) over the legal process; the combined amount of the penalty of twice the training costs for “A” (12.5 million won (approximately $11,000)) as well as additional girl group training fees and rent caused by postponement of the group’s debut from her departure (43.2 million won (approximately $38,000)).
Although “A” responded by saying that, after she was unable to keep up with Source Music’s instructions for unrealistic short-term weight-loss, the former trainee says she was excluded from practice after they cited “appearance issues.” However, the court did not accept these statements as “A” was the one who violated the contract first.
The court ruled, “Because ‘A’ did not return to practice and, thus, violated the contract, she must pay twice the amount of the investment costs, according to the terms of the contract.” However, the agency’s demands for “A” to compensate for the expenses from the delayed debut of GFRIEND was not acknowledged.
The court explained, “The group ‘GFRIEND’ was planned as a seven-member group originally but, after ending up with five members following the departure of ‘A’ and another trainee, the group ultimately debuted as a six-member group with the addition of a new member” and, “In light of this fact, the delayed debut cannot be attributed solely to ‘A’ alone.”
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