Court of Appeal reverses defense judgment in artist royalty case

HLC Properties v. MCA Records (2008) 2008 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 3993 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five) [unpublished]. GMSR’s clients, the heirs of legendary performer Bing Crosby, sued MCA Records for unpaid royalties. Because it concluded that the claims were equitable in nature, the trial court held a bench trial, the result of which was a complete defense verdict. GMSR challenged the judgment on the basis that the Crosby heirs had been denied their constitutional right to a jury trial of claims that were actually contractual at nature. The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed, ordering a new trial for GMSR’s clients.