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Sly Stone awarded $5 million in business contract dispute

Failure to adhere to the terms of a contract can be significantly detrimental to the parties who agreed to the contract in any industry. This is definitely true in the music and entertainment industries. Music legend Sly Stone found this out when his business partners in his own company cheated the funk musician out of his royalties. The singer has recently prevailed in a business contract dispute in a court in California.

The 71-year-old musician sued his former manager and his former record company for breach of contract. The court awarded Stone $5 million as a result of the lawsuit. Apparently, the defendants approached Stone after the peak of his music career had long since passed. The defendants convinced the singer to become part of Even St. Productions as an employee and a co-owner.

Being destitute and financially ruined due to heavy drug use, the musician agreed to assign his royalty rights to Even St. Productions in 1989. The company was supposed to pay a portion of the money received from royalties to Stone. However, the company and the singer's former manager arranged to defraud the singer of his royalty payments through dishonest accounting.

Meanwhile, the defendants claim it was the plaintiff who approached them in hopes of revitalizing his career. The defendants argued that they were not seeking the singer's royalties and claimed that Stone was essentially owed nothing due to the millions of dollars of tax debts he owed to the government. Stone claims he did not receive payments for royalties between 1989 and 2000. The defendants countered that they had helped the plaintiff pay the Internal Revenue Service and also assisted in renegotiating royalty disputes with record companies.

Regardless of the defendants' claims, in the end, a jury decided in favor of Stone in the contract dispute filed in California. The jury awarded a total of $5 million in damages to be paid to the plaintiff. This outcome may not have been possible if it were not for the carefully planned legal argument which the plaintiff presented in court. Those who are looking to file a similar breach of contract lawsuit will want to also properly prepare by researching contract and business laws.

Source: New York Daily News, "Sly Stone wins $5 million in breach-of-contract suit", Jan. 28, 2015

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