The estate of Rick Nelson is suing Capitol Records, alleging that the label has grossly underreported royalties owed, though the company claims to have up to $250 million in “unmatched income” not connected to any particular artist. The estate claims that the label has the funds to pay off the royalties, but has refused to do so.
According to the estate’s suit, Capitol has “intentionally tried to make it harder for royalty auditors to discover the information so that royalty artists could be paid monies legitimately due them” by moving income formerly held in separate accounts to a general account with other assets. Nelson’s estate seeks disgorgement, restitution, accounting, damages and punitive damages on 10 counts, including breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unfair business practices.
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Nelson, best known for his songs “Travelin’ Man” and “Poor Little Fool,” scored a string of 53 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973 and co-starred in the hit Fifties sitcom Ozzie and Harriet. Nelson died in a plane crash in 1985 at the age of 45.