The Michael Jackson estate just scored a major court victory.
A $9.4 million legal ruling won by Quincy Jones in a lawsuit filed against the estate has been overturned, some three years after the initial victory.
Jones had originally sought $30 million for projects created after Jackson’s death, including remixes of Jackson’s hit songs and licensing relating to This Is It.
After the trial concluded in 2017, a jury ruled that Jones was entitled to nearly $1.6 million in royalties because he didn’t receive the chance to participate in the remixes. He also received an additional $5.3 million in joint venture profits, $2 million more for This Is It and $180,000 for foreign public performance income.
But a California appeals court has now ruled that a trial judge didn’t adequately interpret contracts, and overturned the original verdict.
According to the LA Superior Court, Judge Michael L. Stern failed to look at integral evidence when making a preliminary decision about the meaning of Jones’ producer contracts.
It added that the contracts should have only have been put to a jury when they had been reasonably interpreted beforehand.
“The trial court did not perform these judicial functions; instead, it allowed the jury to act in a judicial capacity,” the Superior Court stated.
The appeals court also concluded that Jones’ legal team failed to reflect how Jones was due any more than a 10% royalty rate on record sales.
It stated: “The award of $5,315,787 must be reversed because it was based on the jury’s improper conclusion that: (1) the Producer Agreements entitled Jones to a share of net receipts for Master use licenses; and (2) the Producer Agreements entitled Jones to more than 10 percent of record sales if Sony increased Jackson’s basic royalty rate over time in the Recording Agreements.”
That’s one hell of an appeal.