Katelyn Mooney - Kanye West (Yeezy) Lawsuit

Freelancer’s ₹2.4 Crore Wake-Up Call: A Lesson To Take Your Contracts Seriously

In a drama that could’ve been taken straight out of a movie plot, a freelancer’s failure to sign a contract has led to a courtroom showdown with none other than Kanye West’s fashion brand, Yeezy. And this costly lesson has left the Brooklyn-based creative director, Katelyn Mooney, with a whopping ₹2.4 crore (about $300,000) wake-up call.

Image source: Yeezy Mafia on Instagram

Mooney, a well-established freelance creative director in the fashion industry with experience working with giants like L’Oreal, Nike, and Coke, was hired by Yeezy for $110,000 to pull together a photoshoot for West’s new sunglasses line called SHDZ according to a New York Post article.

Mooney delivered the final digital files of the photos on Sept. 14 which, “Yeezy had no issues with,” as per the court papers.

It was reported that Mooney did not sign a contract with Yeezy, and communication about the project, invoices, and payments took place mainly through text messages.

Mooney, a mother of three, was forced to take out loans and max out credit cards just to make ends meet after Yeezy’s inability to pay the invoices on time.

With no contract to back her up, Mooney was left with no choice but to take matters to court.

You’d think with all that moolah, Yeezy would’ve lawyered up, but nope – they didn’t even bother to respond to the lawsuit on time.

Nonetheless, The action was brought under freelance laws that protect independent workers. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Gerald Lebovits came to the rescue, ordering Yeezy to cough up $300,000 (about ₹2.4 crores). That included $95,000 in damages and a hefty $205,000 in statutory damages.

So, freelancers & contract workers, take heed: sign a contract before you start working with any client. It doesn’t matter if they’re a big-shot fashion brand or a small-time startup – a written agreement is the only thing standing between you and a whole lot of financial drama.

Refrens, a business operating system for freelancers, has even started offering services to help freelancers collect payments for undue invoices.


Don’t let the excitement of working with big names cloud your judgment. Save yourself the heartache and the headlines by inking a deal before you dive into your next project. Always ask for an advance before starting a project. Divide large projects into small milestones, and only start working on the next milestone after getting paid for the previous work done – It’s a lesson worth ₹2.4 crores, and Katelyn Mooney learned it the hard way.

Stay safe and keep hustling!