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1. Oh, Poor Vinnie Vincent
Highest Court Sixth Circuit
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Vincent, Vinnie
Defendants Band Member(s)
Business Entity of Artist(s)
KISS
Polygram Records
Simmons, Gene
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Vinnie Vincent (nee Cusano) was KISS's lead guitarist from 1982-84, at which time he co-wrote numerous songs that appeared on albums. Though he's not too well known by the population at-large, he's well known in courts of law. Vincent sued the band and its members numerous times during the 1990s and 2000s (see, e.g., "Vinnie Vincent Wants In" (I) and (II), and "Vinnie Vincent vs. Metal Edge"). In the late 1990s, he sued his former band-mates for numerous causes of action, including violation of publicity, defamation, and nonpayment of royalties. He lost the case, and KISS were awarded $80,000 in fees and costs, for which the band members secured a judgment lien on Vincent's copyrights. Vincent filed this Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, as wells as numerous adversary proceedings against various parties, including one against BMI for which he was awarded $2,000 of the $20,000 he requested. After third parties motioned to convert his bankruptcy into Chapter 7, Vincent moved to voluntarily withdraw his petition. The court, noting that Vincent had filed in bad faith, barred him from filing for two years and held that no subsequent filing could impact matters relating to the prior litigation between Vincent and KISS. The appellate court, after addressing preliminary issues, upheld the lower court's finding as to "bad faith." Vincent had filed three times in three years and had withheld financial information from courts adjudicating his proceedings. (Ancillary issues were also discussed, but the "bad faith" issue was, according to the court, the most important.) - LSW


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2. Kool & Gang's Money Trouble (I)
Highest Court Third Circuit
Year Ended 1990
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants No Defendants on file
Other Kool and the Gang
Music Publisher(s)
Polygram Records
Short Description James Taylor, singer for Kool and the Gang, declared and was granted bankruptcy. Nice exposition of the music industry as well. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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3. Brian Setzer's Bankruptcy
Highest Court E.D. New York
Year Ended 1985
Plaintiffs Setzer, Brian (Orchestra)
Defendants Arista Records
Music Producer(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description In an interesting bankruptcy dispute, the Eastern District of New York found that musician Brian Setzer, first of the Stray Cats then later a solo artist, had filed for bankruptcy in bad faith, essentially to avoid an adverse prior ruling in a state contract case. Two different parties filed two different suits in two different courts in two different countries, each alleging to be Setzer's manager and owed twenty percent of his income, amounts still unpaid. In the Philadelphia action, Setzer was apparently unresponsive and sanctioned by the court. Thus when Setzer sought to file an amended answer including new counterclaims, the court denied his request. It was around this time that Setzer filed the instant bankruptcy proceeding, pointing to the possible impending judgments, which could total $4 million, and a secured mortgage debt of $250,000. Through an adversary proceeding Setzer brought in conjunction with his bankruptcy filing, he included claims that the Philadelphia court had previously denied him the opportunity to add through amendment. The District Court held Setzer had filed in bad faith. Not only was his bankruptcy proceeding an attempted run-around on his state case, but the "debts" he cited weren't yet existent; they were merely expected damages from as-of-yet undecided court cases. Further, Setzer's attempt to reject the contracts as bankruptcy laws allow would be pointless if he were to win the Philadelphia action, and may run counter to the outcome of that case. All these factors, and others, implied bad faith, and Setzer had failed to refute any of them. His bankruptcy filing was denied. - LSW


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