Two years ago U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins scored a major victory for justice when she ruled portions of the U.S. Patriot Act unconstitutional, but four days ago she may have topped herself by throwing out Mike Love’s ridiculous lawsuit against his cousin and fellow Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Love alleged that a 2004 promotional CD of re-recorded Beach Boys songs that was given out free with a newspaper in London cost him millions of dollars, damaged the reputation of The Beach Boys and violated Love and Wilson’s “partnership.” In a stern, seventeen-page decision Collins rebukes Love and states that any partnership they ever had was a creative — not a business — partnership and ended in the 1960s.
Love has sued Brian numerous times in the past, but this is the first time Brian has prevailed. Melinda Wilson, Brian’s wife, says, “After Mike’s deposition, he turned to his cousin Brian and said, ‘you better start writing a real big hit because you’re going to have to write me a real big check.” she says.
But in fact, it was Love’s own deposition testimony that played a role in bringing down his case. The decision repeatedly quotes Love’s own statements from deposition. Example:
Q: And have you and Brian ever had a conversation about what would be done with the songs separate and apart from actually writing them? Mike Love: I don’t — I don’t recall any conversation like that.
Quotes like that underscored Collins decision. “Certainly Plaintiff [Love] and Defendant [Wilson] were collaborators,” she wrote. “But Plaintiff’s mere “belief” that they had had a legal partnership and his repeated use of the word “partnership” cannot substitute for evidence that a legal partnership existed. Because no jury could reasonably find that Plaintiff and Defendant were in a legal partnership in 2004, there is no genuine issue of material fact to submit to a jury and Defendant is entitled to summary judgment.
Collins also points out that Love has repeatedly done the very same thing he accuses his cousin of doing. “[Love] also admits that he re-recorded some of the co-authored songs several times between 1996 and 1998 without first informing [Wilson].”