A $9.4 million legal ruling won by Quincy Jones in his battle with Michael Jackson‘s 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.”