A local car rental company has named up-and-coming dancehall artiste Byron Messia in a lawsuit over alleged damage to one of its vehicles in a car crash involving the Talibans singer and one of his associates.
Jamaica MVP Imports Limited, which is listed as the claimant in the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court Civil Division on August 30, 2023, is seeking over J$3 million in damages, loss of income, attorneys’ costs and other expenses.
Messia, whose real name is Dylan Byron, is named as a defendant in the claim along with record producer Wayne Campbell.
According to court documents obtained by OBSERVER ONLINE, on June 7, 2023, Campbell and Byron allegedly came into possession of the vehicle, a white BMW 316i, via a written rental agreement between the company and Campbell.
It is alleged that on June 10, in the vicinity of Junction in St Mary, one of the defendants “negligently drove, managed, controlled and/or failed to manage or control” the car resulting in the vehicle running off the roadway and crashing, causing the rental company to suffer damages and loss of income.
The accident, according to media reports at the time, left some of the occupants of the vehicle injured. However, the dancehall artiste, who reportedly did not suffer any serious injuries, took to Instagram shortly after the accident to “give thanks to the most high for sparing my life and the lives of my friends.”
As a result of the accident, according to the claimant, an agreement was forged between the entertainer and the car rental company to pay a sum of $2.5 million to cover the damage to the car. It is alleged that a sum of J$1 million was paid over to the company leaving a balance of $1.5 million which the entertainer has reportedly refused to pay.
When contacted by OBSEVER ONLINE on Monday, a member of Messia’s PR team explained that the deejay offered to assist his producer by paying the $1 million, but the representative stressed that the artiste did not have any official contractual obligations with the car rental company and is therefore not responsible for paying the balance nor any other costs relating to the matter. He also denied claims that one of defendants was driving the car on the day of the accident.
“Byron did not rent the car. Byron was not driving the car. Byron has never driven the car. Byron did not have any agreement with whoever rented the vehicle," the PR representative, who asked not to be named, said.
“When the accident took place Byron said he would assist in sorting out the expenses related to fixing the car. He gave the producer 1 million dollars cash and said ‘put that towards whatever you’re doing’,” he said, adding that Messia was merely a paying passenger in the vehicle.
The PR person also indicated that Messia’s handlers have not received any documents relating to any lawsuit being brought against their client.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Byron Messia's PR representative as saying the entertainer "wasn't even driving at the time". The representative in fact stated that Messia "has never driven the car". We regret the error.