Russell Simmons has filed a lawsuit in New York against the Millwork Trading Co, a subsidiary of Li & Fung.

A statement from Simmons’ lawyer indicates that the suit centers around “fraud and breach of contract in connection to the ‘American Classics By Russell Simmons’ and ‘Russell Simmons Argyleculture’ trademarks. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of US$55m.”

Via statement, Simmons explained, “In 2007, Li & Fung USA, a division of the Hong Kong-based apparel-sourcing powerhouse, which purported to be the market leader in the development of proprietary brands, approached me about obtaining the exclusive license for American Classics, my smart budget mass-market apparel brand. At that time we made it clear that Simmons Design Group’s main focus was Argyleculture, and that the two brands needed to work synergistically and belonged together. They expressed a false enthusiasm for my flagship brand in order to induce me into licensing them my mass-market brand.”

The claim accuses Li & Fung USA of never having intended to perform contractual obligations under both aforementioned trademarks.

“Therefore I have taken this action to protect my partnerships with retailers and recover millions in damages on behalf of my brands and to protect my name and reputation in the industry,” he said.

More on this story as it develops.