Firm helps to vindicate clients in dispute over vintage songs and sound recordings
March 24, 2011 -- PE&G recently achieved total victory in a case brought against its clients by the estate of Sky Saxon, leader of the 1960's era band THE SEEDS, over the rights to that band's songs and sound recordings. On March 9, 2011, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana granted the firm's motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case against the firm's clients in its entirety. According to Judge Recana, the estate administrator, Saxon's widow (his wife of less than two years), failed to show that her late husband's "buyout" agreements -- in which he received a series of lump sums in return for any future right to song and record royalties -- were unconscionable or otherwise unenforceable, and that the balance of her claims were stale and therefore time-barred. The evidence was uncontested that, for the over 35 years between those agreements and his death in 2009, Saxon lived with the deal he made with Gene Norman, a respected music business professional, who owned and operated the independent record label GNP-Crescendo. (Mr. Norman, one of the great jazz impresarios of his time, also owned and operated the Crescendo nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and later served as one of the first trustees of the Recording Industry Association of America.) Moreover, the estate's attorney conceded at oral argument that Saxon "wanted to do" the deal with Norman. Notwithstanding these facts, Saxon's widow sued GNP-Crescendo and its related music publishing company to undo those agreements and gain for Saxon's estate (in which she is in line to be a major beneficiary) all of the rights to the catalog of songs and recordings Norman's companies have for over 45 years owned and controlled. Judgment in the clients' favor is currently pending; upon its entry by the court, the clients expect to assert claims for recovery of costs, fees and other damages against the estate and its attorney.