Led Zeppelin’s Attempt to Recoup ‘Stairway’ Trial Legal Fees Denied
The judge overseeing Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" trial ruled against the band and their publishing company's attempts to recoup nearly $800,000 in legal fees.
While a federal jury determined that Led Zeppelin were not guilty of plagiarizing Spirit's "Taurus" in a bizarre copyright infringement trial in June, judge R. Gary Klausner ruled Monday that, since the lawsuit itself was not frivolous and meritless, the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy (California) Wolfe and their attorney Francis Malofiy were not obligated to repay the defendants' legal fees.
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, along with their "Stairway to Heaven" publishing company Warner/Chappel sought to recoup $793,000 following the lawsuit, arguing that because that copyright claim was for a song over 45 years old, no insurance company would cover them, the Associated Press reports.
In an attempt to recoup the legal fees, Led Zeppelin's attorneys argued that the lawsuit against the band was a frivolous attempt to "shake down" the group. While Klausner openly and loudly criticized the plaintiff's lawyer Malofiy, the judge ruled Monday that there was no evidence the lawsuit "harbored nefarious motives."
Malofiy has since promised to appeal the decision. "The lawsuit was objectively reasonable, and we are confident that any appeal will be successful. However, I will say that their allegations of misconduct are meritless and over the top. Anyone who was in the courtroom knows that there was no misconduct at the trial. To suggest otherwise is simply bad reporting," Malofiy told Rolling Stone in a statement.
In late July, Page issued a statement following the copyright infringement trial. "A few weeks have passed since the judgment of the 'Stairway to Heaven' case in Los Angeles, with the jury reaching a unanimous decision in a remarkably short time," the guitarist wrote. "Throughout the lengthy journey to that verdict, and even more recently, I have received and been aware of the overwhelming wave of support, encouragement and congratulations that [have] been deeply moving. I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank all those who contributed such a positive energy to me."