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Yodeling for Royalties
Highest Court W.D. Texas
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Estate of Artist(s)
Family of Artist(s)
Defendants Antone's Records
Music Executive(s)
Record Label(s)
Other Walser, Don
Watermelon Records
Short Description Country musician Don Walser, known for his distinctive yodeling, signed an agreement with Watermelon Records, a little-known Austin-based country music record label, in 1994, only four years before the label went bankrupt and its assets were purchased by Defendant, Antone's Records, who, as luck would have it, later filed for bankruptcy itself. The latter bankruptcy underlies this dispute, brought by Walser's estate and family, alleging various causes of action against Antone's and associated entities, including breach of contract and fiduciary duties, fraud, and copyright infringement, requesting rescission, constructive trust, and piercing of the corporate veil. According to the court, it is undisputed that Defendants failed to tender appropriate royalties and royalty-statements to Walser, after assuming Watermelon's contracts. Though Plaintiffs were unable to state claims arising from Watermelon Records' bankruptcy and failure to pay Walser, the court allowed breach of contract claims against Defendants arising from their own failure to pay. The court found that Walser had performed fully under the agreement, but that Defendants plainly failed to live up to their part of the bargain, and did not cure their breach within 30 days of being warned by Walser's attorney; in this regard, Defendants were liable for around $30,000. Because monetary remedies were adequate, rescission of the fully-performed contract was not allowed, and, further, Plaintiff's claims for fraud and copyright infringement failed too. Further still, Plaintiffs were unable to show that any form of fiduciary relationship arose between Walser and the various record labels with whom he was contractually tied, inter alia, because Texas law has not found such a relationship between artist and label, and no relationship of trust otherwise existed. The court refused to hold the record labels' executives personally liable, finding that traditional doctrines like the "alter ego" test did not apply. Though most claims were denied, the contract breach claim resulted in a $30,000 award. - LSW

Legal Issues
Bankruptcy Chapter 11 Assumption/Rejection of Obligations
    Third-Party Claims & Accounts
Business Associations Corporations Director & Shareholder Liability
  Fiduciary Relationships Fiduciary Duties
Contracts Breach Payment & Performance
  Equitable Remedies Rescission
Copyrights Infringement Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination
General Equitable Remedies Constructive Trust
Torts Economic Torts Fraud, Misrepresentation & Inducement


Opinions In re Antone's Records, Inc.
445 B.R. 758 / 2011 WL 309146
W.D. Texas , January 25, 2011 ( Bankruptcy Nos. 08_12292_CAG, 08_12293, 08_12294 )


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Related Searches Parties
Antone's Records ( Defendant )
Estate of Artist(s) ( Plaintiff )
Family of Artist(s) ( Plaintiff )
Music Executive(s) ( Defendant )
Record Label(s) ( Defendant )
Walser, Don ( Other )
Watermelon Records ( Other )

Legal Issues
Bankruptcy / Chapter 11 / Assumption/Rejection of Obligations
Bankruptcy / Chapter 11 / Third-Party Claims & Accounts
Business Associations / Corporations / Director & Shareholder Liability
Business Associations / Fiduciary Relationships / Fiduciary Duties
Contracts / Breach / Payment & Performance
Contracts / Equitable Remedies / Rescission
Copyrights / Infringement / Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination
General / Equitable Remedies / Constructive Trust
Torts / Economic Torts / Fraud, Misrepresentation & Inducement

Courts
W.D. Texas (highest court)


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