Soundgarden Claims About Chris Cornell Benefit Concert Dropped From Lawsuit
The legal battle between the members of Soundgarden and Chris Cornell's widow, Vicky Cornell, continues, but at least one bone of contention will not be part of the proceedings moving forward. The group has dropped counterclaims against Cornell after claiming earlier this year that they were tricked into performing at the "I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell" concert and disputing where the money for the event was used.
To recap, in 2019, Vicky Cornell filed suit against the band's living members and their business manager, alleging that they were trying to "strong-arm" her into giving them seven unreleased recordings Chris Cornell had made prior to his death by withholding royalties.
In May of 2020, the members of the band countersued Cornell, claiming that she doesn't actually own the recordings, but has physical possession of them as the band returned to her Cornell's laptop. They also made their claims about the benefit concert, alleging that the money was being used for personal purposes. The 2019 benefit raised $1.3 million, which was donated to the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation as well as the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation.
The band also claimed that Cornell has been running the band's social media sites without permission. The three remaining Soundgarden members recently started up their own social media accounts under the moniker Nude Dragons, which is an anagram of Soundgarden that the band used as an alias when they returned in 2010.
When the countersuit was filed, Cornell's lawyer Martin Singer told Billboard, "Every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for and their statements are not only false and defamatory but demonstrate the depths to which Chris’ former bandmates are willing to sink to tarnish his legacy."
Singer now tells The Hollywood Reporter, “When we threatened Soundgarden with the undisputed facts that their claims concerning Vicky Cornell and the Cornell Charitable Foundation were disgraceful and fabricated by requesting the court sanction them for their appalling conduct, they caved in and agreed to drop their claims. We were looking forward to having the court make Soundgarden and their attorneys accountable for their shameful conduct, but they instead backed off their meritless claims since they knew they would lose the Rule 11 motion, which is used in court to punish and deter parties and their attorneys from pursuing objectively frivolous claims."
On Wednesday (July 15), a stipulation allowed Soundgarden to amend their complaint. It states, "The sole purpose of filing the First Amended Counterclaims is to dismiss the Ninth and Tenth Causes of Action and certain related factual allegations relating to the January 16, 2019 charity concert: 'I am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell.'" Cornell's lawyers reportedly served a motion for Rule 11 sanctions against the band and its legal counsel on June 24.
According to the filing, the band still believes those claims were "well-founded" but they've agreed to voluntarily dismiss them "for reasons communicated" to Cornell's lawyers. Meanwhile, the legal dispute continues over who owns the unreleased Cornell recordings. The latest legal document filed can be viewed in full here.
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