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Love's Suit Goes Forward

Hole frontwoman gains leverage in lawsuit against Universal

October 4, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Courtney Love's contract dispute against Universal Music Group just took a leap forward for Love with a September 26th court ruling validating the majority of the lawsuit's causes of action, therefore allowing the contract termination suit to move forward to trial.

Superior Court Judge Fumiko Wasserman had initially denied eleven of the fifteen causes of action named in Love's complaint, among them were fraud, breach of contract, declaratory relief, rescission of agreements and breach of fiduciary duty.

After reviewing new evidence submitted by Love and her attorney, Judge Wasserman overruled the previous decision allowing six of those counts, now giving Love ten claims against Universal Music Group. Of particular interest is Love's challenge of the Seven Year Statute in the California Labor Law, which prohibits companies from establishing contracts with employees for a period of time greater than seven years. In 1987, the law was amended, allowing record labels to engage in contracts with artists longer than that seven-year period. Love's lawsuit directly challenges that provision.

"The amendment makes recording artists a separate class of people from all other artists and [prevents] them from having the right to exercise the seven year termination," Love's attorney, A. Barry Cappello, says. "Prior to this ruling, the record industry scoffed at Courtney's assertion and believed they had Courtney on the run on that issue and now it's exactly the opposite."

A decision in Love's favor could mean big news for artists trying to get out of their recording contracts and according to Love's attorney it's a case that is being closely followed by other artists and attorneys. "I have a client who is committed, a woman who has made it clear to the entire world that if she settles the case there's going to be something big in it for every artist that's out there. So she's not going to settle it for just Courtney Love," Cappello says.

Love, Don Henley and LeAnn Rimes spoke directly to the seven year statute at a recent California State Senate Select Committee yesterday to discus artist issues, particularly contracts between musicians and labels.

Last week Love filed a similar suit against Universal as well as the surviving members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Chris Novoselic, challenging Nirvana's contract with Geffen Records.

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