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McKool Smith Secures $9.4 Million Verdict for Quincy Jones against the Michael Jackson Estate

McKool Smith has secured a $9.4 million jury verdict on behalf of legendary music producer Quincy Jones against the late music icon Michael Jackson’s production company, MJJ Productions Inc., in a breach of contract and royalty dispute. Mr. Jones produced a number of the King of Pop’s most acclaimed albums, including “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” and “Bad.”

The lawsuit centered on allegations that MJJ Productions Inc., which is controlled by Michael Jackson’s estate, failed to pay Mr. Jones royalties for the soundtrack to “This Is It,” a documentary that was released just months after Michael Jackson’s death, and Jackson’s Cirque du Soleil productions, which both feature several musical hits produced by Jones.

The verdict was announced on July 26, 2017 following a two-week jury trial before Judge Michael L. Stern in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles. After deliberating for more than two days, the jury returned a verdict in favor of McKool Smith’s client finding that MJJ Productions Inc. owes Mr. Jones $9.4 million in unpaid royalty fees.

“The jury worked tirelessly to listen to all of the evidence and weigh the facts of the case,” said Mike McKool, a founder and Chairman of McKool Smith and lead counsel for Quincy Jones. “As we have maintained throughout trial, based on contractual obligations and a long standing agreement with Mr. Jackson himself, Quincy Jones is clearly entitled to his fair share of royalties based on his significant contributions to many of Michael Jackson’s most iconic pieces of work. We are very pleased with the jury’s decision.”

The McKool Smith trial team included Mike McKool, J. Michael Hennigan, Robert E. Allen, Scott L. Cole, and Caroline M. Walters, along with Henry Gradstein and Maryann R. Marzano of Gradstein & Marzano PC.

The case is Quincy Jones et al. v. MJJ Productions Inc. et al., case number BC525803, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

With more than 180 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Since 2006, the firm has secured ten nine-figure jury verdicts and ten eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal “Top 100 Verdicts” over the last ten years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what TheWall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.


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