Courtney Love Trial Postponed, Talks Continue

By | August 22, 2002 at 12:00 AM

A trial in a closely watched breach of contract case pitting rock star Courtney Love against Universal Music was postponed on Tuesday as the two sides continue talks to reach an out-of-court settlement.

Sources familiar with talks said the case is likely to be resolved, rendering a trial unlikely.

Officials for Universal Music, the world’s biggest record company and a unit of Vivendi Universal, declined comment. Love’s attorney, Barry Cappello, also declined comment.

The case’s roots date back to December 1999 when Love, the widow of Nirvana’s late bandleader Kurt Cobain, decided to stop recording for Geffen, a unit of Universal Music.

Last year, Geffen/Universal Music sued Love, seeking millions of dollars in damages for five undelivered albums. Love countersued, also in 2001, claiming she was cheated out of substantial royalties.

Universal’s complaint and Love’s cross-complaint will be tried together if the case goes to trial. A trial date of Sept 3 was set Tuesday.

If Love were to reach a deal, it would be the second high-profile member of a pop artist coalition challenging record industry practices to quietly settle a dispute that had thrust them into the vanguard of the activist movement.

In June, Grammy-winning trio Dixie Chicks – also members of the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC) made up of Don Henley, Billy Joel, Sheryl Crow and several others – settled a suit with Sony Corp’s Sony Music Entertainment, 10 months after accusing their record label of “systematic thievery.”

Love is also part of the group, which staged a series of fund-raising concerts on the eve of the Grammy Awards last February, but suffered a big setback last week when a state senator withdrew a controversial bill he had authored on behalf of the artists.

ANOTHER LOVE SUIT

In a separate bitter dispute in Seattle, Love is suing the remaining members of Cobain’s grunge band Nirvana over ownership of the group’s recordings and songs in the case worth millions of dollars in royalties.

Irish superstar Bono of the group U2 has been asked to testify for Love, while the band’s former band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic questioned Courtney’s mental stability in court papers filed this year.

Love recently submitted a written settlement proposal, but Nirvana’s lawyer, Kelly Corr, on Tuesday said he told Love’s lawyers upon receipt of the proposal that he considered it “one-sided and unreasonable.”

“Krist and Dave would like to settle this case if possible because they’d like to get the music out to fans,” he said.

A hearing on a motion to dismiss Love’s suit is set for Aug. 30. If denied, the case is set to go to trial Sept. 30.

Love’s lawyer in that case, O. Yale Lewis, was not immediately available for comment.

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