Quincy Jones loses $6.9M on Michael Jackson verdict appeal

Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson in file photos. Associated Press Photo

Thanks to a jury verdict which determined he was owed royalties and fees for the usage of various of his self-produced, Michael Jackson-recorded hits, Quincy Jones was incorrectly awarded US$9.4 million in a longstanding legal battle against the late-pop icon’s estate in 2017.

On May 5, however, California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed that decision after determining that the jury had erred in its interpretation of a contract that was actually the judge’s job to interpret in the first place.

As a result, the state’s appeal court took, not all, but $6.9 million of the winnings from Jones, 87, according to the Associated Press.

Jones worked alongside Jackson in the late 1970s and 1980s, producing some of his biggest albums, including Off The Wall (1979), Thriller (1982) and Bad (1987).

This Sept. 7, 2018 photo shows music producer Quincy Jones, the subject of the Netflix documentary film “Quincy,” posing for a portrait at the Shangri-La Hotel during the Toronto Film Festival in Toronto. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP).

Jones sued the Jackson estate back in 2013, arguing that he never received royalties for the usage of songs like Billie Jean or Beat It in Jackson’s much-beloved 2009 concert film This Is It as well as two individual Cirque du Soleil shows.

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Though Jones retained $2.5 million of the winnings as compensation for late royalty fees from This is It, the appeals court found that the jury wrongly went beyond the 10 per cent royalty rate he was owed for all collective record sales.

Additionally, they determined that the infamous producer was incorrectly granted $5.3 million money from licensing fees and for remixed versions of Jackson’s master recordings, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

Furthermore, the court rejected a counter-appeal from Jones, who alleged that the trial court should have allowed him to make a claim of financial elder abuse against the Jackson estate.

“While we disagree with portions of the Court’s decision and are evaluating our options going forward, we are pleased that the Court affirmed the jury’s determination that [the Jackson estate] failed to pay Quincy Jones more than $2.5 million that it owed him,” Jones’ attorney J. Michael Hennigan said in a statement to AP.
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“We knew the verdict was wrong when we heard it,” said Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman in a statement, according to USA Today. “The court of appeal has completely vindicated us,” he added.

Weitzman continued: “Quincy Jones was the last person we thought would try to take advantage of Michael Jackson by filing a lawsuit three years after he died asking for tens of millions of dollars he wasn’t entitled to.”

During the trial, Jones was asked by Weitzman whether he realized he was essentially suing Jackson himself. He disagreed.

Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1986. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

“I’m not suing Michael,” claimed Jones angrily, while on the stand. “I’m suing you all.”

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Despite suggesting he had no ill will towards the late King of Pop, Jones, back in 2018, claimed that Jackson had stolen music from others in a highly controversial interview with Vulture.

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Additionally, Jones made some unrelated claims involving assassinated U.S. president John F. Kennedy and current presidential daughter Ivanka Trump.

Weeks later, he apologized for the “silly” comments he made during the interview, claiming that he had since “learned [his] lesson,” after receiving a ton of backlash.

— With files from Global News’ Katie Scott and the Associated Press

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