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1. Roky Sues Indy for Acting Like a Major
Highest Court N.D. California
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Erickson, Roky
Songwriter(s)
Defendants Independent Label Collective
Mermis, "Long Gone John"
Sympathy for the Record Industry
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Roky Erickson, the infamous lead singer for the early psychedelic band, The 13th Floor Elevators, whose subsequent struggles with mental illness have been well documented, had a decent comeback in the first decade of the 2000s. In this case, Erickson, along with a co-writer, sued several entities well-known in the independent music world, including Sympathy for the Record Industry and its founder, Long Gone John, for breach of contract, fraud, and copyright infringement, arising from Defendants' nonpayment of royalties and failure to render an accounting. The court found in Plaintiffs' favor for around $80,000, which Defendants refused to pay. Plaintiffs levied property owned by Long Gone John, and received their judgment, but sued for attorneys' fees incurred in securing the judgment. John argued several theories for why Plaintiffs should not receive compensation, including that they should have engaged in settlement negotiations instead of trying so hard to obtain the judgment John was refusing to pay. The court, clearly, disagreed, and Plaintiffs were awarded $35,000 in attorneys' fees. - LSW


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2. 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


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3. Akon Ignores Investment?
Highest Court N.D. Georgia
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Investor(s)
Defendants Akon
Konvict Muzik
Music Executive(s)
Other Glowb
Short Description Plaintiff is apparently an investor that loaned $400,000 to a Konvict Muzik, a multifaceted music company co-founded by hop-hop artist Akon. Plaintiff signed a contract with the other co-founder, who was acting on behalf of one of the many limited liability companies operating under Konvict's umbrella. The money was loaned for the development of a hip-hop group called Glowb. The Defendants in this case included many different Konvict-related companies (and Akon himself), not just the company with which the contract was signed, even though the contract itself contained language limiting the agreement to the undersigned parties. Despite liberal pleading requirements, the court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss on the pleadings. Plaintiff's breach of contract action was dismissed because Plaintiff never signed a contract with most Defendants, and the signatory was not acting as Defendants' agent when signing. Conversion was dismissed because Plaintiff did not sufficiently allege that Defendants ever received or had actual possession of the loaned funds; fraud and unjust enrichment were dismissed for the same reason. Though it seems Defendants did indeed wrong Plaintiff, Plaintiff will need to learn how and whom to sue, if Plaintiff wants remuneration. - LSW


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4. Songwriter's Royalties in a Bind
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Financial Institution(s)
Defendants Financial Institution(s)
Pullman, David
Other Page, Gene
Short Description This lawsuit is one of several over the last few years involving the financial transaction of David Pullman, a somewhat well-known figure in the music industry for his role in creating so-called "Bowie Bonds," named after David Bowie, the artist who first used them. Bowie Bonds are investment vehicles wherein purchasers buy debt from recording artists, to be repaid, with interest, through royalty payments owed to the artist. This lawsuit appears to involve this same sort of transaction regarding the royalty interests of songwriter Gene Page. Page's family took loans from Plaintiff, a financial company that loans money to artists to be repaid from royalties, but was also involved, to some extent, with Pullman and his entities. Pullman's parties offered to investigate some suspect financial transactions between Plaintiff and Page's family, including a loan to a family member of Plaintiff's owners, and Plaintiff assigned to Pullman the rights to do so. After Pullman brought suit against Plaintiffs for numerous causes of action, including conversion, fraud, interference, civil conspiracy, and numerous equitable actions not specifically listed in this entry, Plaintiff sought to enforce an arbitration agreement contained in one, and only one, of the many loan agreements between Plaintiff and the Pages. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) found the arbitration agreement enforceable, and the parties submitted to arbitration, which ended in Pullman/Page's favor for over $1/2 million. This lawsuit was brought by Plaintiff to vacate the arbitration award, alleging no court of law ever found the agreement binding. Though the AAA had upheld the provision, the court agreed and concluded that no court of law had upheld it, and thus the arbitration was not binding. If a party objects to arbitration, the resulting award cannot be binding absent a judicial determination. The award was vacated, and a court must now determine whether arbitration is mandatory. - LSW


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5. Guy Mitchell's Royalty Collection
Highest Court E.D. Washington
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Trust of Artist(s)
Defendants Artists Rights Enforcement Corp. (AREC)
Other Mitchell, Guy
Short Description The Artists Rights Enforcement Corp. (AREC) is an entity formed to assist musicians and songwriters in obtaining the royalties they are owed from various music contracts, whether with publishers or record labels. AREC has been sued by a number of artists and their families alleging that AREC withheld royalties owed to them. In this case, the family trust established to handle the assets of American pop singer Guy Mitchell sued AREC for withholding royalties purportedly collected on the trust's behalf. AREC argued that the Washington court had no personal jurisdiction over them, because they were a New York-based company that did not have sufficient ties to Washington state. However, the court disagreed. Specific personal jurisdiction existed where Defendants created a "continuing obligation" to collect royalties on behalf of a Washington resident, even if no Defendant had ever entered Washington to create the obligation. Furthermore, the stated wrongs--such as misrepresentation and fraud--were made to a Washington resident, and thus Washington is where the harm was felt. Plaintiff met the requirements that the instant lawsuit "arose from" Defendants' "purposeful availment" of the state, and, further, exercising jurisdiction would not be unreasonable. - LSW


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6. Ex-Recording Artist vs. Usher and Alicia
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants Arista Records
Business Entity of Artist(s)
Dre & Vidal
Dupri, Jermaine
EMI April Music
EMI Music
Film Studio(s)
Hitco Music
Keys, Alicia
La Face Records
Music Executive(s)
Music Manager(s)
Music Publisher(s)
Record Label(s)
Songwriter(s)
Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Sony Music
Sony/ATV Music
Toby, Ryan
Universal Music
Usher
Zomba Records
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The facts of this immense lawsuit--which involves numerous defendants--are somewhat unique. Oftentimes, unknown artists sue huge companies and successful artists alleging copyright infringement, usually with little-to-no evidence that the defendants ever knew of the plaintiff or plaintiff's songs. In this case, Plaintiff was a songwriter and recording artist who signed briefly with Alicia Key's record label, a subsidiary of J Records, and began recording songs to be released. After some of the songs were finished, the record label offered to buy some of her songs for use with other artists on the label, such as Usher. Plaintiff, recognizing that the agreements would divest her of all royalty and ownership rights--she'd be a "ghost writer"--refused the deal. According to Plaintiff, Defendants nevertheless used her songs on Usher's album, "Confessions," as well as with other artists on the label's roster. Unfortunately for Plaintiff, her song, "Caught Up," which was one that Defendants wanted to use, was nothing like the Usher song of the same name. The court compared both lyrics and melody between the two songs and found that, despite Plaintiff's allegations and undeniable claims of access, the Usher song was not copied from Plaintiff's. Perhaps the phrase "caught up" was copied, but that in-and-of-itself was insufficient to comprise copyright infringement. With the sole federal claim dismissed, the court declined jurisdiction over the remaining state claims, and Plaintiff's action was disposed of entirely. - LSW


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7. Photographer: "Marley Photos Are Mine!"
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Photographer(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Music Merchandiser(s)
Other Marley, Bob
Short Description In a different case, "Bob Marley Bootleggers Busted," Defendant A.V.E.L.A., a music merchandiser, was sued by the exclusive licensee of Bob Marley's publicity rights and trademarks for improperly using Marley's likeness and names on various merchandise. This related case was brought by the photographer who provided the infringing photographs to A.V.E.L.A. After the first lawsuit erupted, A.V.E.L.A. withheld royalty payments to Plaintiff, alleging any payments he was due to receive were offset by their litigation costs from the Marley lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants' legal issues were unrelated to his own responsibilities under the parties' agreements, and costs should not have been counted against him. Plaintiff asked for and was granted a preliminary injunction preventing A.V.E.L.A. from using moneys owed to Plaintiff to cover legal costs from the other suit. On appeal, the injunction was affirmed. The injunction was not overly broad; though the licensing agreement dictated amounts Plaintiff was to be paid, Defendants were not able to show that these were the only amounts he would be granted if successful. Furthermore, the appellate court did not find the trial court abused its discretion in finding both that Plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief and that there was a reasonable probability that Plaintiff would prevail on his claim. - LSW


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8. Snuff Sells Songbook
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Business Entity of Artist(s)
Garrett, "Snuff"
Defendants Music Publisher(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Thomas "Snuff" Garrett is successful record producer whose client list includes Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Sonny & Cher, and many others, and who is well-known for having hired Phil Spector as a producer at Liberty Records, where Snuff was on staff. In this case, Snuff and Defendant reached an agreement wherein Defendant would purchase Snuff's music publishing back catalog. The agreement had two parts: first, Defendant would purchase the bulk of his catalog for over $500,000, and, second, if Snuff was able to obtain all the appropriate rights from the songwriters for the song "Half Breed," which was a big hit in 1973 for Cher, Defendant would buy that song alone for over $300,000. However, Defendant only guaranteed it would purchase the latter song if Snuff could clear the rights within 30 days of the first transaction. After the first transaction took place, as the 30 day window was narrowing, communications between the parties led Snuff to believe the 30-day restriction had been waived, or at least momentarily extended. When Snuff tendered the cleared rights, Defendants refused to purchase. On Snuff's breach of contract claim, the court was unsympathetic. The contract clearly required him to tender "Half Breed" within 30 days. However, because Defendants' lawyers' conduct could be interpreted as waiving the requirement, the court denied Defendants' motion for summary judgment, saying a jury could find Defendant was equitably estopped from enforcing the provision. Snuff's fraud claim was disposed of, however. - LSW


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9. Surviving Survivors Sue
Highest Court N.D. Illinois
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Survivor
Defendants Band Member(s)
Other Peterik, Jim
Scotti Brothers Records
Short Description Survivor is, without a doubt, best-known for their massive hit, "Eye of the Tiger," that functioned as the theme song to Rocky III. However, they had other hits, and have continued to perform as a band up until today. Plaintiffs in this lawsuit are the band's founder and the band's corporate entity, while Defendants are members of the band who had been with the band at the time "Eye" was recorded and released. In the early days of the band, the members formed a joint venture, which allowed for replacement members to become full venturers in the agreement. Plaintiffs joined the band sometime thereafter. Prior to this lawsuit, in the mid-1990s, members of the band Survivor, including Plaintiffs but not Defendants, realized they had not been tendered royalties or statements by Scotti Brothers, the record label with which they had previously signed. Plaintiffs brought suit, and the parties settled, with 20% of royalties paid to songwriter/producer Jim Peterik and 80% paid to Survivor. However, Plaintiffs represented to Defendants, when Defendants re-joined the band in the late 1990s, that no royalties were forthcoming, because the band was indebted to their record label. This court opinion, which does not state the reason for Plaintiff's lawsuit, addresses Defendants' counterclaims alleging that Plaintiffs committed various wrongs (see the attached list of legal issues) relating to the concealment of Plaintiffs' settlement for royalty payments and subsequent receipt of those royalties. On Plaintiff's motion to dismiss counterclaims, the court found that Defendants introduced evidence, beyond the speculative level, that they were full members of the band (pursuant to the joint venture agreement and subsequent record contracts), and were thus owed royalties, which were not paid by Plaintiffs. Furthermore, Defendants' fraud claims were properly stated, even under heightened pleading requirements, because they alleged that Plaintiffs intentionally misled Defendants into believing no royalties were forthcoming, despite the settlement. Last, because Defendants learned of the nonpayment of royalties in 2009, when Peterik told them of his 20% interest, the statute of limitations had not run. In a related subsequent ruling, the court held Defendants were not judicially estopped from asserting claims against Plaintiffs for royalties, despite not having claimed the royalties or cited the contracts amongst the band members and with Scotti Brothers in a previous bankruptcy proceeding. - LSW


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10. Avengers Want Vengeance
Highest Court N.D. California
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Avengers
Defendants Music Executive(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The Avengers were a first-wave American punk rock band, active in the late 1970s in San Francisco, where they famously opened for the Sex Pistols at the Pistols' last show. The Avengers' lead singer, Penelope Houston, had a rather impressive solo career thereafter, releasing several major label albums during the 1990s. This case concerns the distribution of the band's retrospective, usually called "The Pink Album," which was released by Defendant's record label in the early 1990s and sold around 100,000 copies. Plaintiffs, former members of the band, alleged that Defendant never paid Plaintiffs royalties from "Pink," and that they rescinded the agreement, meaning he had no rights to distribute the recordings anymore; that Plaintiffs terminated their publishing agreements with Defendant, but Defendant continues to exploit the songs; that Defendant had no right to distribute copies of their performance from the Pistol's last show; and that Defendant made false representations to third parties in securing distribution. The band sued for copyright infringement, fraud, conversion, and various forms of declaratory relief. The court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims for declaration of copyright ownership, finding they were duplicative of copyright infringement claims, but allowed the band's declaratory judgment regarding Defendant's release of their concert album, saying the claim was not preempted by the Copyright Act, but was an issue of contract. Claims for fraud were dismissed as not properly pleaded, as were claims for conversion, because no actual property was pinpointed as being converted. Plaintiffs' infringement claims were not at issue in this opinion. - LSW


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11. Obscure Disco Royalty Dispute
Highest Court N.D. Illinois
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Music Producer(s)
Songwriter(s)
Defendants Music Distributor(s)
Music Executive(s)
Music Publisher(s)
Record Label(s)
Other Air Power
Short Description Air Power is an obscure disco act that released several singles in 1978, each of which is subject to this dispute, that received limited-but-noteworthy public reception. Defendants are various companies--record labels, publishers, distributors--involved in the release of the singles, and the executive at their helms. Plaintiff, one of Air Power's principal songwriters, producers, and publishers, alleged that he was never paid any royalties from the original release of the songs in 1978, though one song sold around 25,000 copies within a few weeks. He sued for fraud, breach of contract, and termination of the copyrights granted to Defendants. On a motion to dismiss on the pleadings, the court found for Defendant. Plaintiff had no right to terminate the grant to Defendants, because Plaintiff was only one of two co-authors, and his co-writer did not agree to termination. Regarding the breach of contract and fraud claims, Plaintiff's case may have been successful, if only it was brought 25 years earlier. Now there's a little something called the statute of limitations. - LSW


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12. 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


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13. Korn's Singer: "Plaintiff is Demented!"
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Band Member(s)
Other Korn
Short Description Jonathan Davis, the lead singer for nu-metal pioneers, Korn, was once a fond collector of serial killer memorabilia, and even contemplated financing a museum for the purpose of displaying that kind of stuff. Plaintiff was the party with whom Davis contracted to organize and fund such a museum. However, when Davis changed his mind, the two entered a settlement in which Davis granted to Plaintiff a Volkswagen vehicle previously owned by Ted Bundy, two clown suits previously owned by John Wayne Gacey, four paintings by John Wayne Gacey, a confession signed by Albert Fish, and five drawings by Richard Ramirez. As part of the settlement, Davis promised not to disparage Plaintiff, his venture, or the materials. However, shortly thereafter, Davis did precisely that, calling the stuff "sick shit" and publicly distancing himself from such "negative" things. When plaintiff sued for violation of the agreement and fraud, Davis sought to dismiss, citing California's Anti-SLAPP act, which can dispose of complaints brought against protected expression unless Plaintiffs can demonstrate a likelihood of success. In this case, the court held Plaintiff met the burden. Davis's comments breached the settlement and caused diminution in the memorabilia's value. Further, Plaintiff made a prima facie showing of fraud. Defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion denied. Though, in all fairness, this is sick shit. - LSW


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14. Latifah's Movies Copy Plaintiff's?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Scriptwriter(s)
Defendants Buena Vista Pictures
Film Distributor(s)
Film Producer(s)
Individual(s)
Queen Latifah
Walt Disney
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Writer of script for movie Amoral Dilemma sued makers of Bringing Down the House, including Queen Latifah, who starred in the film, alleging the film substantially copied Plaintiff's work. The District Court dismissed Plaintiffs complaint numerous times... - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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15. Simone's Ex vs. Simone's Lawyer
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Music Producer(s)
Spouse of Artist(s)
Defendants Estate of Artist(s)
Family of Artist(s)
Other Simone, Nina
Short Description After Nina Simone died, there were apparently numerous lawsuits regarding ownership of her songs, including her ex-husband/producer (Plaintiff), her lawyer (Defendant), and others, involving percentages left to parties in her separation agreement (from Plaintiff) and her will, as well as contingencies owed to Defendant. Plaintiff was granted ownership to various Simone compositions through his separation from her, Defendant was given ownership as contingency, and a probate court had found some of the contests rights belonged to Simone's estate. Plaintiffs sued for declaration of rights for ownership of copyrights, and alleging that Defendants had entered into license agreements involving copyrights he didn't own, and that these licenses constituted various causes of action. However, Plaintiff here is also the defendant in a lawsuit in which Defendant here is the plaintiff, out in California. The claims Plaintiff brought here are identical to the claims raised in his answer to the other suit. The court dismissed this case under the "prior pending litigation" doctrine, so as to avoid duplicitous litigation. - LSW


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16. Lil Wayne Unhappy with Quincy's Film
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Business Entity of Artist(s)
Lil' Wayne
Defendants Film Producer(s)
Jones, Quincy
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description This case involved a dispute regarding an agreement between Lil' Wayne and Defendant to produce a 90-minute biographical film about Lil' Wayne's life. Lil' Wayne argued that Defendant breached a provision in the contract granting him "a sole right of final approval" for scenes that might depict him engaged in criminal behavior, or that might adversely affect his pending gun possession and drug possession cases in New York and Arizona, respectively. The Defendant allegedly breached this provision by including a scene in the film depicting Lil' Wayne engaging in criminal activity by "misusing medication," despite Lil Wayne's objections to that scene's inclusion in the film. Lil' Wayne sought a preliminary injunction against Defendant, but the contract that he signed contained an anti-injunction provision. Despite Lil' Wayne's argument that the anti-injunction provision is unconscionable since Defendant refused to negotiate it, the Court enforced the provision, denying Lil' Wayne an injunction. Judgment for Defendant. - SKR


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17. Lou Pearlman's Fraud Busted
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Investor(s)
Defendants Financial Professional(s)
Other Pearlman, Lou
Short Description The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant conspired with Lou Pearlman to misappropriate funds that the Plaintiff's entrusted to Pearlman's Trans Continental Airlines. Pearlman, a recording svengali later created N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Pearlman's ponzi scheme lasted from the 1980s until 2006, costing investors $300 million. The Defendant was an employee of Pearlman's record label, but also appeared as the manager for the ponzi scheme's front company. She claimed she was just a secretary, but the Plaintiffs asserted she was the party they dealt with when they spoke with the front company. This part of the case concerned whether the Court had personal jurisdiction over the Defendant, who lived in Florida. The Plaintiffs, New Yorkers, could not show that the Defendant ever engaged in conduct in in New York, nor that she ever even mailed them a document. The Court dismissed the complaint against the Defendant and also refused to let the Plaintiffs add additional Defendants. - JMC


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18. James Brown Bonds?
Highest Court New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Brown, James
Business Entity of Artist(s)
Defendants Financial Institution(s)
Pullman, David
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description This lawsuit involves an obscure little investment vehicle known as a "Pullman Bond," though it is probably better known as a "Bowie Bond," named after David Bowie, the pop star that first utilized it. In the late 1990s, Bowie issued asset-backed securities of revenues generated by his pre-1990 albums, offering an interest rate of 7.9%, to be paid out of royalties from those albums. Bowie cashed in $55 million from the deal, though he forfeited 10 years worth of royalties (the life of the bonds). This lawsuit does not involve Bowie, but James Brown, who used a similar process in securing a $26 million loan from Defendant, the Pullman Group for which the Pullman Bond is known, shortly after Bowie's deal was finished. Brown pledged future revenue in exchange for the $26 million loan, but also promised Pullman, in writing, that he would refinance the assets "upon future recoupment of the securities" with Pullman alone. When Brown tried refinancing through a third party, Pullman sent a notice to that company, as well as Brown and his entities. The refinancing transaction broke down, and Brown sued for declaratory judgment of non-breach and for interference with business relationships. Pullman counterclaimed for declaratory judgment and breach of contract. The definition of "recoupment," as intended by the parties, determined whether there was a breach. Brown's claims for interference with business were dismissed, since Pullman's letter was only intended to explain its financial interest. So was Pullman's action for breach, since the refinancing, if it were a breach, was never consummated. Furthermore, a declaration of breach or non-breach is pointless, because the refinancing was abandoned. - LSW


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19. Yngwie's Manager Embezzled?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Malmsteen, Yngwie
Defendants Music Manager(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Yngwie Malmsteen, despite having the least pronounceable first name in the history of guitar virtuosos, rose to fame during the 1980s "hair metal" explosion. Malmsteen sued his ex-managers for numerous causes of action, including malpractice, fraud, contract breach, breach of fiduciary duties, and sought numerous equitable remedies. After the trial court and jury found for Malmsteen, in the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars the appellate courts affirmed. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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20. Ex-Girlfriend vs. 50 Cent
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Girlfriend of Artist(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A longtime girlfriend to Curtis Jackson (50 Cent), who is also mother to his child, sued 50 for numerous causes of action after he "made it big," alleging he had earlier promised, in return for supporting him while he was struggling and newly paroled, that "when he makes it big, he will take care of [her] for the rest of [her] life." When 50's celebrity and bank account grew, he pushed for Plaintiff (and provided funds) to start a career investing in properties. After the relationship strained, 50 began sleeping around and allegedly hitting Plaintiff, they split, and Plaintiff filed this suit. It could be taught in first year Contracts classes, as it deals with oral contracts and equitable relief that may arise when such promises are unenforceable. The trial court found that Plaintiff stated causes of action for breach of contract, breach of joint venture agreement, partition of property, and various equitable actions, holding that unmarried cohabitants were legally able to contract regarding financial matters. In its final disposition, however, the court dismissed the complaint in its entirety. Any contract-based claims were blocked by lack of specificity in the original promise or by the Statute of Frauds, as not performable within one year. The court found for 50 Cent on every other cause of action, denying petition of property and dismissing assault and battery (outside the statute of limitations), fraud, and others. Plaintiff's "unjust enrichment" action was also insufficient; 50 had since taken care of Plaintiff, even if she originally took care of him. - LSW


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