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news:

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07/14/04
All Legal Action is Over!

06/22/04
It's Getting Crazier
and Crazier Folks!

01/30/04
Update on the Lawsuits Against Dead Kennedys

06/20/03
Excerpts From The Appellate Decision

06/19/03
DKs Completely Vindicated In Appeal

04/09/03
Statement of Facts

11/12/02
DKs Respond to Lawsuit

08/28/02
DKs v ATR Appeal

03/27/02:
DKs Puzzled By Biafra's Latest Legal Maneuver


01/16/01:
DKs Plan New Releases


10/29/98:
DKs Sue Jello Biafra

10/01/98:
DKs Sever Ties with ATR

6/20/03

Excerpts from the Decision

COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT, DIVISION FOUR
No. A094272

First paragraph:
“Jello Biafra, the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys band, appeals from a judgment upon a concurrent jury and court trial finding in favor of the other three former members of the band on their complaint against him. Former band member, East Bay Ray, cross-appeals from the judgment entered against him for fraud damages. And, plaintiffs cross-appeal from the trial court’s judgment ordering dissolution of the partnership. We reverse the judgment finding that East Bay Ray defrauded Biafra and, consequently, the dissolution order. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment.”

p.10
“Biafra … argues that the 1991 agreement does not assign the exclusive right to control the Catalog to Decay Music, and that Schedule C to the agreement does not set forth the parties’ ownership interests in the Catalog. But the extrinsic evidence offered on these issues and the 1991 agreement itself demonstrate otherwise. The agreement not only gave Decay Music the exclusive right to exploit the sound recordings of the Dead Kennedys, it also provided for the allocation of royalty payments among the members and any associated artists on the recordings.”

“Biafra’s testimony that the ownership interests in the recordings were documented on the albums lacked credibility. The evidence showed that the band worked collectively on the creation of its musical compositions and that they agreed to share the compositions as memorialized in their 1991 agreement.”

p.14
“Here, the evidence showed that ATR continually insisted that its payment of royalties to respondents was accurate, that there was no discrepancy in the multiplier rate paid to them as opposed to other bands on the label, and that respondents’ attempts to obtain an increase in the rate amounted to ‘greed.’ The evidence further showed that ATR continually misrepresented the discrepancy, and that respondents relied on ATR's representations … To their detriment, respondents continued to negotiate in good faith for a royalty increase while ATR knowingly deceived them of the amounts due under their contract. In fact, Stott, the attorney for Biafra and ATR, who negotiated with respondents, did not acknowledge the underpayment of royalties but instead tried to gain a new licensing agreement from Decay Music, proffering a payment of a royalty rate increase in exchange. He maintained that Decay Music was not owed an arrearage on royalties as it had ‘been paid every dime it has earned from ATR over the last ten years.’ In sum, the evidence amply supported the jury's fraud verdict.”

p.19
“In light of our decision reversing Biafra’s fraud claim, we conclude that we must also reverse the trial court’s decision granting Biafra’s request to dissolve the partnership. Inasmuch as Biafra defrauded the partnership and respondents were opposed to dissolution, we remand the matter to the trial court to reconsider whether dissolution is an appropriate remedy.”

"[T]he record demonstrates that Biafra's fraudulent actions precipitated the rift in the partnership, and made it impossible for the partnership to carry on its business as it had in the past. As in Bates v. McTammany, '[n]oserious contention may be made that [Biafra], himself at fault, may prevail on his application for a dissolution if it would cause loss to the partnership.'"

Link to complete text:
Dead Kennedys v. Jello Biafra, Cal.App.1 Dist.,2003 A094272

 

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last updated 07/14/04