Will Irving Azoff and Global Music Right’s legal fight against the Radio Music License Committee be decided in California or Pennsylvania?
We still don’t know, following a California District Court judge’s decision to continue pausing a case filed by GMR as they await a final decision on a motion to dismiss RLMC’s case in Pennsylvania.
The whole thing is a bit confusing because there are two parallel lawsuits happening and each side is pushing to have the case heard in their preferred jurisdiction. Lawyers for GMR said despite the recent California ruling, the case largely remains unchanged.
“The judges ruling in California has no bearing on GMR’s claims against the RLMC. They will be litigated and we look forward to proving our case,” a statement from GMR’s legal counsel sent to Amplify reads.
GMR is a boutique performing rights organization with a much smaller repertoire than traditional PROs like BMI or ASCAP, but is home to some of the top songwriters in the world. The biggest radio stations in North America aren’t happy that GMR is seeking to negotiate its own licensing deals outside of a DOJ consent created to handle major PROS. The radio conglomerate sued in Pennsylvania accusing GMR of being a monopoly, and then GMR filed its own suit in California, saying the Golden State was a more appropriate venue.
Presumably each side thinks they have an advantage in the court of their choice and in November, GMR scored a major victory when
Pennsylvania magistrate judge Lynne A. Sitarski issued a recommendation that RLMC’s suit be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue.
The judge overseeing the Pennsylvania case has yet to accept the recommendation of Sitarski, and in an attempt to move the case along, GMR lawyers asked to have the California case resumed. Earlier this week, California judge Terry Hatter declined to lift the stay, giving the judge in Pennsylvania more time to decide if he will accept the recommendation to dismiss the case in that state.
Adding to the intrigue, GMR lawyers said it was made aware of an “unidentified ‘conflict that developed’ within chambers” that “was preventing that court from knowing when it would be able to rule on the dismissal bid,” according to Law 360.
Despite the conflict, Hatter seems willing to wait for a ruling in Pennsylvania before agreeing to start the California case. And so, we continue to wait. Justice isn’t just blind…it’s also a bit slow and won’t be hurried along.