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Representative Work

Privacy, Publicity, Life Story Rights and Defamation

Stephen McCullagh and Aegis Assisted Living, LLC v. Timothy Crawford, et al.
Courtney Love Cobain, et al. v. David Grohl, et al.

Stephen McCullagh and Aegis Assisted Living, LLC v. Timothy Crawford, et al.
No. 01-2-27392-2SEA (Wash. Superior Court, King County, filed October 4, 2001)

Attorneys

O. Yale Lewis, Jr.
Stacia N. Lay

Related Practices

Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Privacy, Publicity, Life Story Rights and Defamation

Aegis Assisted Living, LLC is a California company that builds residential homes for senior citizens, which are specifically designed to accommodate the needs of the aging. In August 2000, Aegis purchased several acres of property in Shoreline, Washington through which flows a watercourse known as “Thornton Creek.” In December 2000, fire destroyed an existing building on the site that Aegis was in the process of demolishing. In August 2001, at the request of the City of Shoreline, Aegis held a public meeting at the Shoreline Center to discuss the project. Stephen McCullagh, an Aegis executive, facilitated that public meeting, which was attended by 40-50 people, many of whom were adamantly opposed to any development near Thornton Creek. At that meeting, a neighbor and selfstyled advocate for Thornton Creek, who had opposed the Aegis development, described Mr. McCullagh as an “arsonist” and “felon” who “need[ed] to be in jail.”

On October 4, 2001, Aegis and Mr. McCullagh filed claims against that individual and others for slander, libel and conspiracy. Trial was set for February 2003. In late November 2002, Hendricks & Lewis substituted as counsel for Aegis and Mr. McCullagh, immediately prepared and served discovery requests on the defendants, took depositions and otherwise prepared for trial.

In February 2003, Aegis and Mr. McCullagh obtained a mediated settlement with which they were fully satisfied.


Courtney Love Cobain, et al. v.
David Grohl, et al.

No. 01-2-13059-5SEA (Wash. Superior Court, King County, filed May 9, 2001)

Attorneys

O. Yale Lewis, Jr.
Katherine Hendricks

Related Practices

Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Intellectual Property

Contracts, Unfair Competition and Other Business Disputes

Privacy, Publicity, Life Story Rights and Defamation

Arts, Entertainment and Sports

Business Transactions and Organizations

Courtney Love is the widow of Kurt Cobain, a celebrated songwriter, performer, recording artist and visual artist.  Frances Bean Cobain is their daughter. In 2001, Ms. Love—on behalf of herself, Frances Bean Cobain and a California entity that had been established to receive payment for the benefit of Ms. Love and Frances Bean Cobain from revenues generated by the assets of the Kurt Cobain legacy—filed suit in state court in Seattle, Washington against (a) the surviving Nirvana band members Krist Novoselic and David Grohl; (b) an LLC of which Ms. Love and Messrs. Grohl and Novoselic were members and managers; and (c) Universal Music Group, Inc., for declaratory judgment, breach of fiduciary duty, oppression of minority shareholder, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, rescission, breach of contract, judicial dissolution and preliminary injunction.

Shortly after the complaint was filed by Hendricks & Lewis, Ms. Love obtained a preliminary injunction against all of the defendants that, among other things, prohibited them from releasing a previously-unreleased song written by Kurt Cobain entitled “You Know You’re Right.” Subsequently, Hendricks & Lewis successfully resisted the defendants’ demand that Ms. Love undergo a psychiatric examination pursuant to the LLC agreement, and ultimately obtained a negotiated settlement that secured for Ms. Love and Frances Bean Cobain substantial and long-lasting financial and other benefits including: (a) a satisfactory restructuring of the Nirvana LLC; (b) ultimate control of the Cobain legacy, life story and movie rights; and (c) the possibility for significantly-enhanced, long-term income streams.

In addition, Hendricks & Lewis assisted in the negotiation and documentation of an agreement with Geffen Records to release a “Greatest Hits” album in 2002, a publishing agreement with Riverhead Press for the “Cobain Journals,” and the renegotiation of a music publishing agreement with EMI Records.


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