Capitol and its affiliate EMI concealed their use of the band’s recordings “in an effort to pocket millions of dollars” in royalties, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs are seeking at least $25 million, asserting causes of action for fraud, breach of contract and — in a difficult and unusual claim against a record company — breach of fiduciary duty.
The defense moved to dismiss the causes of action for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as the plaintiffs’ requests for punitive damages and to reclaim the rights to their recordings, perhaps the most valuable catalog of music in existence.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Karla Moskowitz last week denied the defense’s motion in its entirety.
Most significantly, because the fiduciary duty claim survived the motion, the defendants may be subject to tort liability’s broader damages, additional causes of action and additional remedies.
The dispute dates back nearly 30 years, to a similar suit initiated by the Beatles against Capitol/EMI, Apple Records, Inc. v. Capitol Records, Inc., 137 AD2d 50.