Vicky Cornell v. Soundgarden: Judge Finds Band Isn’t Withholding Royalties
The legal issues between Vicky Cornell and the surviving members of Soundgarden continue with a federal judge recommending two of Cornell’s six claims filed against the band should be thrown out.
Per Billboard, “U.S. District Judge Michelle Peterson said in a report filed Friday that there wasn’t evidence that the band was improperly withholding ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ of Chris Cornell’s royalties from her or that the band’s manager breached his duty to look after her best interests. Peterson’s report will now be sent to the case’s presiding judge, Robert S. Lasnik, who will make the final decision.”
Cornell and Soundgarden have engaged in a number of legal battles over the past few years. This latest development stems from Cornell's very first lawsuit she filed against the band back in December 2019. In this initial lawsuit, Cornell claimed Soundgarden was withholding “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of royalties in an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.”
These recordings have been talked about publicly by guitarist Kim Thayil multiple times, with him saying in November 2019 during an interview, “We definitely have another record in us. Stuff that’s written, stuff that’s demoed and recorded — certainly. All it would need is to take the audio files that are available…There shouldn’t be [issues getting the record done] — there really isn’t — other than the fact that we don’t have those files… And I think that will happen. It would be ridiculous if it didn’t. But these are difficult things — partnerships and property.” Vicky Cornell has accused Thayil of “putting her family in harm’s way” by suggesting she’s being difficult regarding these demos.
In February 2020, Soundgarden responded to Vicky Cornell’s lawsuit claiming that recordings being withheld are actually the property of the band. They also denied her claim the band was withholding any royalties and state they haven’t received any royalties either until “the Partnership, by vote of the Remaining Partners, formally elects to make such a distribution.”
In May 2020, Soundgarden filed another countersuit against Vicky Cornell and the estate of Chris Cornell “accusing them of ‘fraudulent inducement’ for allegedly using revenue intended to be raised for charity for ‘personal purposes for herself and her family.'” The band would drop this lawsuit in July.
Just last month, Cornell filed a new lawsuit alleging the three surviving members of Soundgarden offered her $300,000 to buy out Chris Cornell’s share in the band which she claims is a low ball offer. She also alleges the band recently received an offer of $16 million for their masters. Vicky’s new lawsuit would help establish a proper value of the assets and worth of Soundgarden.