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More Money for Crickets & Hollies?
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs MCA Records
Defendants Family of Artist(s)
Former Band Member(s)
Spouse of Artist(s)
Other Holly, Buddy (and the Crickets)
Petty, Norman
Short Description Buddy Holly was one of the most promising of the early rock n' roll stars, writing and producing his own music, but his life was cut short by the infamously tragic plane crash in 1959 that also killed Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. In this case, brought in 1999, Holly's widow, heirs, and former members of the Crickets sued MCA Records for unpaid royalties due on contracts signed in the 1950s but amended numerous times thereafter, alleging breach of contract and fiduciary duty, as well as fraud, conversion, and more. On motions for summary judgment, the court held the contract actions not barred by the statute of limitations regarding the previous four years, but found the fraud and duty claims not actionable. The court found MCA liable for over $500,000 in unpaid royalties owed on sales since 1995. Because each royalty underpayment was an individual wrong, the court allowed Plaintiffs recovery on those within the statutory period, but did not agree with Plaintiff's "delayed discovery" argument regarding earlier underpayment. On appeal, the California court of appeals affirmed, finding all but the contract awards properly disposed. Plaintiffs' award was increased, however, since the lower court had inappropriately allowed MCA to deduct "packaging costs" according to practices enshrined in Holly's contracts, but which were long-outdated by the time the contracts were signed. MCA needed to present evidence of actual packaging costs, not industry customs with no real bearing on reality. Since MCA presented no such evidence, no packaging costs were deducted, and the award was increased by $75,000. - LSW

Legal Issues
Business Associations Fiduciary Relationships Fiduciary Duties
Contracts Breach Payment & Performance
  Terms Construction & Interpretation
Copyrights Ownership Assignments, Licenses & Renewal Rights
General Affirmative Defenses Contractual Limitations Period
    Statutes of Limitation
  Equitable Actions Unjust Enrichment
  Equitable Remedies Accounting
    Constructive Trust
Torts Economic Torts Fraud, Misrepresentation & Inducement
  Property Torts Conversion
Trademarks & Unfair Competition State Statute/Common Law Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices


Opinions MCA Records, Inc. v. Allison
2009 WL 1565037
California Court of Appeal , June 05, 2009 ( No. B199801 )


MCA Records, Inc. v. Holley
2007 WL 4895753
Superior Court of California , April 11, 2007 ( No. BC 208485 )


MCA Records, Inc. v. Holley
2002 WL 34386801
Superior Court of California , November 18, 2002 ( No. BC 208485 )


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Related Searches Parties
Family of Artist(s) ( Defendant )
Former Band Member(s) ( Defendant )
Holly, Buddy (and the Crickets) ( Other )
MCA Records ( Plaintiff )
Petty, Norman ( Other )
Spouse of Artist(s) ( Defendant )

Legal Issues
Business Associations / Fiduciary Relationships / Fiduciary Duties
Contracts / Breach / Payment & Performance
Contracts / Terms / Construction & Interpretation
Copyrights / Ownership / Assignments, Licenses & Renewal Rights
General / Affirmative Defenses / Contractual Limitations Period
General / Affirmative Defenses / Statutes of Limitation
General / Equitable Actions / Unjust Enrichment
General / Equitable Remedies / Accounting
General / Equitable Remedies / Constructive Trust
Torts / Economic Torts / Fraud, Misrepresentation & Inducement
Torts / Property Torts / Conversion
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices

Courts
California Court of Appeal (highest court)
Superior Court of California


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