Pop musician Phil Collins has won his High Court action against two members of his former backing band.
Mr Justice Jonathan Parker ruled that Collins had overpaid Louis Satterfield and Rahmlee Davies a total of £244,000 in royalties.But he made it clear the duo, once part of the group Earth, Wind and Fire, will not have to repay any of the money, and halved the amount the Oscar-winning musician had demanded from them.
The judge said it was "highly regrettable" the matter could not have been resolved before it went to court, and criticised Collins' company for its handling of the affair.
Davis, 51, and Satterfield, 63, claimed they were entitled to royalties on all 15 tracks on a live album recorded on a tour in 1990.
But the judge ruled the pair should only have been paid for the five tracks on which they performed.
They worked with Collins throughout the 1980s, on highly successful albums such as 1981's Face Value and 1989's But Seriously.
Trumpter Davis and trombone player Satterfield only received session and touring fees for all the albums they had worked on, with the exception of the royalties deal on the live album.
When the royalty payments were suddenly stopped, they told the judge they wrote to Collins asking why, but he failed to reply.
'Surprise and shock'
Collins' company was criticised by Mr Justice Jonathan Parker for this.
He said in his ruling: "So far as the claimant is concerned, the manner in which it informed the defendants of its decision to cease paying them royalties was wholly unacceptable.
"In addition, the absence of any reply to the defendants' letter dated 23 April 1997 seems to be particularly unfortunate in the circumstances."
Although he said the way the pair were told about the decision caused them "surprise and shock" and left "a great deal to be desired", he added it did not affect Phil Collins Ltd's rights in law.
The judge ruled the company's claim should be limited to one half, but said it was "highly improbable" future royalty payments would ever cover that sum.
He said the dispute began in 1997 when Phil Collins Ltd's chief accountant wrote to the pair telling them they had been overpaid by $345,000 (215, 600) worldwide and £29,000 in the UK and the money would be recouped from "future royalties earned".
But the judge said he felt Davis had overstated his case, adding he had earlier admitted his current difficulties were down to "bad business decisions".
They had first brought the action in California, claiming the full royalty and damages, accusing the company of being "oppressive, fraudulent and malicious".
But the action was suspended to allow Phil Collins Ltd to bring the action in London after it was ruled the contracts were governed by English law.
They said they had first met Collins at an Earth, Wind and Fire concert in 1979, and that he had asked them to help launch his solo career.
There will be a further hearing to determine costs, but Davis and Satterfield were represented by lawyers working on a "no win, no fee" basis.
Although at his peak during the 1980s, Phil Collins' career has recently taken an upturn.
Last month he won an Oscar for his work on the soundtrack to the Disney movie Tarzan.
© BBC News
Phil Collins Wins Royalties Suit
Phil Collins has won his royalties suit against two members of Earth, Wind & Fire, Rahmlee Michael Davies and Louis Satterfield, who served in Collins' concert backing band during the '80s and '90s.
On Wednesday, a British High Court ruled that the former Genesis frontman had overpaid Davies and Satterfield in the amount of $384,000 from the royalties to Collins' 1990 concert record, "Serious Hits Live," according to Reuters.
Trumpeter Davies and trombonist Satterfield received the overpayment because of an accounting error that distributed royalties to the two for appearing on the entire "Live" album, rather than for just the five tracks on which they appeared.
The High Court also ruled that Davies and Satterfield would not be expected to repay any of the monies owed to Collins and even halved the total amount Collins was seeking in the case to $192,000.
In his decision, High Court Justice Jonathan Parker indicated that Collins' claim should be limited to future royalties earned from the album and that it was unlikely that any future royalties would cover the amount owed.
"Serious Hits Live"
Collins apparently first became aware of the accounting error in 1997 and notified Davies and Satterfield that they had been overpaid and that he would seek to be recouped via the future royalties from "Serious Hits Live."
A lawsuit was subsequently filed late last year in a California court, but the action was suspended once it was determined that the contracts which Davies and Satterfield had signed were governed under English law.
Davies and Satterfield appeared on several Earth, Wind & Fire albums during the late '70s and early '80s, including 1979's "I Am" and 1983's "Powerlight." The two also worked on Collins' successful solo LPs, 1981's "Face Value," 1982's "Hello I Must Be Going," and 1985's "No Jacket Required," and were paid only session wages and touring fees.
© MTV News, by David Basham
Phil Collins Wins Royalty Dispute Over Serious Hits -- Live
Phil Collins has won the lawsuit he filed against two former backing band members in the U.K. over excessive royalty payments made from his 1990 Serious Hits -- Live album (allstar, March 29), according to the BBC.
London High Court Justice Jonathan Parker ruled, however, that defendants Louis Satterfield and Rahmlee Davis -- both former members of Earth, Wind, and Fire -- would not be responsible for paying back any of the monies (some $385,000), which were overpaid to them by Collins. Although Collins was not seeking repayment of previously paid-out monies, he was seeking a declaration that no further payments be made to the musicians, and on that front he won.
While defending their case, Satterfield and Rahmlee had claimed they were owed royalties from all 15 tracks on the Serious Hits -- Live album as opposed to only the five tracks they performed on. Parker disagreed.
The original dispute in the case arose after an accounting error was discovered, showing the defendants had been overpaid $345,000. Phil Collins Ltd.'s chief accountant then informed the defendants by letter that said overpayment would be recouped from "future royalties earned." Parker agreed, although he stated Collins' claim was limited to one half of that amount and that it was "highly improbable" that any future royalty payments would ever cover that sum.
© All Star, Kevin Raub
Phil Collins Wins Lawsuit
Phil Collins won his judgement against Earth, Wind and Fire's trumpeter and saxophonist Rahmlee Michael Davies and Louis Saterfield today. A British high court ruled that the singer had overpaid the musicians in royalties of $384,000 from his album, Serious Hits Live. The court ruled that the two musicians would not have to pay back the money though and reduced the total amount that Collins was seeking to $192,000. Justice Jonathan Parker said that the monies would be deducted from future royalties of the Serious Hits Live album. Davies and Saterfied were featured on such Collins albums, "Face Value" and No Jacket Required. The hornsmen were prominently featured on the hit "Sussudio" from the No Jacket Required album.
Pop Star Phil Collins Wins Royalties Battle
A court Wednesday awarded British rock superstar Phil Collins half the money he had sought in a royalties battle against two musicians who toured with the singer-drummer in 1990.
A high court judge ruled that U.S. musicians Rahmlee Michael Davies and Louis Satterfield -- two former members of the legendary R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire -- had been overpaid royalties and that Collins was entitled to reibursements totaling more than $390,000.
Justice Jonathan Parker said that sum was half the amount originally claimed by Collins but did not give the full figure in court.
The judge criticized Collins' handling of the dispute, saying it was ``highly regrettable'' that the case had to be resolved in court. He also said the two band members would not have to repay any money directly.
Collins' company, Phil Collins Ltd., had argued that due a contract error, Davies and Satterfield had been overpaid royalties from a nine-month tour with Collins in 1990, and that Collins was entitled to repayment.
Parker said he was satisfied that Davies and Satterfield's deal with Collins entitled the pair to royalties for five tracks on the ``Serious Hits Live'' album, not the 15 tracks for which they had received money during a number of years.
Collins had agreed that any money recovered in the legal battle would be set off against future royalty payments, leaving him unlikely to receive any direct reimbursement as a result, the judge said.
© Yahoo! News
UK: Pop Star Phil Collins Wins Royalties Battle
Multi-millionaire rock star Phil Collins on Wednesday won a royalties battle against two members of his former backing band. Justice Jonathan Parker ruled that U.S. musicians Rahmlee Michael Davies and Louis Satterfield - the two surviving members of the legendary group Earth, Wind and Fire - were overpaid royalties of 244,000 pounds ($385,000).
But the high court judge made it clear that the two band members would not have to repay any money and ruled that Oscar-winner Collins was only entitled to half the amount - 122,000 pounds ($192,600). Justice Parker also criticised Collins' handling of the dispute, saying it was "highly regrettable" the case had to be resolved in court.
Collins' company Phil Collins Ltd had argued that Davies and Satterfield had been overpaid royalties to the tune of $345,000 and 29,000 pounds ($45,800) in respect of a nine-month tour they went on with Collins in 1990.
Justice Parker said he was satisfied that under the deal they had only been entitled to royalties for five tracks on the "Serious Hits Live" album, not the 15 tracks for which they had received money for a number of years.
But he said that in the circumstances he considered Collins was only entitled to half the overpaid royalties.
Collins had agreed that money recovered in the legal battle would be set off against future royalty payments, leaving him unlikely to receive any direct payment as a result, the judge said. ($1=.6335 Pound).
© Reuters English News Service
Phil Collins Wins Royalties Case Against Former Band Members
A High Court judge ruled Wednesday that two members of Phil Collins' former backing band were not entitled to as many royalties as they claimed. Louis Satterfield and Rahmlee Davis had argued they had a right to royalties on all 15 tracks of a live album recorded during Collins' 1990 "Serious" tour. But Justice Jonathan Parker ruled the pair should only have been paid for the five tracks on which they performed.
Davis, 51, a trumpeter, and Satterfield, 63, a trombonist, worked with Collins during the 1980s on several successful albums, including "Face Value" and "... But Seriously." They received only session and touring fees for the albums they worked on, but had a royalties deal on the live album "Serious Hits Live."
The dispute over the royalty payments began in 1997 when the chief accountant of Phil Collins Ltd. wrote to the pair telling them they had been overpaid for album sales and that the company intended to recoup the money by deducting from future royalties earned.
The two first brought an action against Collins in California, claiming they were entitled to the full royalties and damages, accusing the pop star's company of being "oppressive, fraudulent and malicious."
The case moved to London after the U.S. court ruled the pair's contracts were signed under English law.
The British judge ruled Collins had overpaid the pair a total of 244,000 pounds (dlrs 373,000) in royalties. He chastised the singer's company, however, for the abrupt way it had stopped the payments.
Collins was not seeking a repayment of the money through the court case, but wanted a declaration that no more royalties needed to be paid.
© Associated Press Newswires
Phil Collins Wins Claim He Overpaid Musicians Kate Watson-Smyth
TWO MUSICIANS taken to court by Phil Collins over pounds 500,000 in royalties will receive no more money from the British multi- millionaire after a High Court ruling yesterday. Mr Justice Jonathan Parker said it was "highly regrettable" the matter could not have been settled before it reached court.
He halved the amount Collins was seeking but said Louis Satterfield and Rhamlee Davis, the American performers, would not have to repay any of it. Collins, who is said to be worth pounds 105m and admits he has more than he will ever need, had not sought actual repayment but wanted a declaration from the court that he could stop paying royalties. Satterfield and Davis, who have returned to the United States because of "financial restrictions", were said to be "disappointed but not bitter". Satterfield, a trombonist, wished Collins well and told the judge to "keep his love light on".
They claimed they were entitled to royalties on all 15 tracks of an album recorded during Collins's 1990 Serious tour. But yesterday the judge ruled the men should have been paid for only the five tracks on which they performed, including "Sussudio".
Davis, 51, and Satterfield, 63, once part of the group Earth, Wind and Fire, said they were first approached by Collins in 1979, asking them to help him launch his solo career after he left Genesis. At the time they had no idea who he was but went on to play on some of his most successful hits.
Davis, who said during the court hearing that he had to pawn musical equipment, and Satterfield, who is thousands of dollars in rent arrears, worked with Collins in the 1980s, helping him to produce several successful albums including Face Value in 1981 and But Seriously in 1989. The two men received session and touring fees except for the royalties deal on the live record. In 1997 they received a letter from Phil Collins Ltd saying they had been overpaid due to an accounting error and the money stopped.
They wrote to Collins asking for an explanation but received no reply. Yesterday the judge said: "So far as the claimant is concerned the manner in which it informed the defendants of its decision to cease paying them royalties was wholly unacceptable." After receiving the letter about the disputed royalties they brought an action against Collins in California, claiming they were entitled to full royalties and damages and accusing his company of being "fraudulent and malicious". The action was suspended and Collins was allowed to bring it in London after the American court ruled the contracts were signed under English law.
In his ruling yesterday the judge said Davis, although he had been honest, had "overstated his case . . . albeit unwittingly by his firmly held conviction that he had been treated most unfairly by the claimant".
But he added it was accepted on all sides that the Phoenix Horns, the band founded by Satterfield and Davis, had made an important contribution to the success of the albums on which they performed and to the personal success of Collins.
During the case Davis said: "We were such an integral part of his career. The tunes we played on were hits, they sold albums, so it makes no difference if we played on all 15 [tracks]. We played on `Sussudio' and that sold the whole album."
Satterfield said: "We made him [Collins] a star. We were already well- established ... when he asked us to record with him. I don't know why he is being so small-minded."
© The Independent, London
Pop Star Claims Hollow Victory In Cash Battle Julia Hartley-Brewer
Multi-millionaire pop star Phil Collins yesterday won almost pounds 250,000 in a high court battle over royalties with two impoverished members of his former backing band, only to be told he would never collect most of the money owed. The judge ruled that the singer had overpaid the horn players a total of pounds 244,000 in royalties because of an accounting error, but made it clear that the two men, who have no other regular income, will not have to repay any of the money 'out of their own pockets'.
In his ruling Mr Justice Jonathan Parker awarded the pop star's company, Philip Collins Ltd, only half of the amount sought from trumpeter Louis Satterfield, 51, and trombonist Rahmlee Davis, 63, because the overpayment had not been their fault. The judge, who at the start of the case commented that the amounts in dispute were 'not much', said it was 'highly regrettable' that the matter had not been resolved before it came to court.
Collins, who is believed to be worth pounds 300m, had never attempted to compel the two men to pay back the overpaid royalties, asking only for all future payments to be stopped. But the judge said it was 'highly improbable' that the future royalty payments of about pounds 12,500 a year each would ever cover the sum owed to the pop star. In practice, Collins would 'only recover a small part of the amount to which he is entitled'.
Davis and Satterfield, who had played with Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry, were founder members of the Phoenix Horns, who performed with the 1970s group Earth Wind and Fire. Despite helping Phil Collins launch his solo career in 1979 after leaving Genesis, the court heard that the two men were now penniless, with Satterfield living on benefits while Davis had been forced to pawn his musical instruments.
The two men performed on several successful Phil Collins albums, including Face Value in 1981, and But Seriously in 1989, for which they received session and touring fees. They also appeared on Serious Hits Live, recorded during the singer's 1990 tour, for which they received royalties worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. But those royalty payments were terminated in 1996 when the chief accountant at Philip Collins Ltd realised the horn players had been paid royalties for all 15 tracks on the album, despite playing on only five songs. He wrote to them explaining they had each been overpaid Dollars 345,000 for worldwide sales of the album and pounds 29,000 for sales in the UK.
Davis, from California, and Satterfield, from Chicago, began proceedings against Collins in California in 1997 claiming they were entitled to full royalties and damages, and accusing the star's company of being 'oppressive, fraudulent and malicious'.
But this action was suspended to allow Philip Collins Ltd to bring a case in London after the US court ruled that the pair's contracts were signed under English law.
Yesterday the judge ruled that the pair should only have been paid on a pro rata basis for the five tracks on which they performed. But he said the Phoenix Horns had 'made an important contribution to the success of the albums on which they performed' and criticised the way in which they were informed of the decision to cease royalty payments as leaving 'a great deal to be desired'.
The question of costs will be decided at a further hearing, but Davis and Satterfield were represented by lawyers working on a no win, no fee basis.
The horn players' solicitor, Franco Barone, of Rakisons, described the ruling as 'a judgment of Solomon'. He said: 'I think it's morally disgraceful that Phil Collins has gone this far over what is, for him, a pittance when my clients have no other regular source of income.'
© The Guardian