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Spice Girls ordered to pay 1m

Spice Girls (clockwise from top left):  Mel B, Emma Bunton, Mel C, Victoria Beckham
Spice Girls (clockwise from top left): Mel B, Emma Bunton, Mel C, Victoria Beckham  

LONDON, England -- Britain's Court of Appeal has ordered the Spice Girls to pay an Italian scooter maker damages and legal costs estimated at about 1 million ($1.5 million).

The damages were for misrepresenting themselves in a deal to promote the company's scooters. In a long-running dispute, the all-girl pop group had sued Aprilia for 212,000 in unpaid fees from the company's 560,000 sponsorship deal for a 1998 world tour.

But in February 2000, the High Court ruled that the group was guilty of misrepresentation for not telling Aprilia that "Ginger Spice" Geri Halliwell had left the band when it signed the contract to promote the scooters.

The High Court ordered the Spice Girls to pay Aprilia 45,000 for scooters Aprilia supplied to the band members, plus legal costs.

The Spice Girls appealed against the ruling and Aprilia counter-appealed, seeking increased damages from the group.

Three appeals judges said on Thursday that the Spice Girls had clearly known about Halliwell's impending departure when they signed the contract; a misrepresentation of the facts that had a greater impact on Aprilia's trading than was first feared.

Left the group: Geri Halliwell
Left the group: Geri Halliwell  

The Vice Chancellor, Sir Andrew Morritt, Lord Justice Chadwick and Lord Justice Rix dismissed the Spice Girls' appeal and awarded Aprilia all its costs of the hearings -- plus increased damages -- an estimated total of about 1 million.

Relations between the group and the Italian company turned sour after the sudden departure of "Ginger Spice" in May 1998, just a month after the deal was signed.

As part of its tour promotion, Aprilia made a Spice Sonic scooter with a silhouette of all five members on it. That product flopped when Halliwell left the group, the company said.

Attorneys for the group argue that Halliwell had said she would not be leaving until the end of an American tour in September that year and this would have had no effect on the contract.

But she changed her mind and quit without warning in May.


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