Judge Says There’s No Evidence Soundgarden Is Withholding Royalties From Chris Cornell’s Widow
There’s a new development in the long-running lawsuit between Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky, and the surviving members of Soundgarden… and it ain’t great for Ms. Cornell.
According to Billboard, U.S. District Judge Michelle Peterson has found a lack of evidence to prove Vicky’s claim that the band and their business manager have “shamefully conspired to wrongfully withhold… hundreds of thousands of dollars” in royalties from the Cornell estate. Consequently, Peterson has recommended that two of Cornell’s six legal claims against the band be dismissed entirely.
The case’s presiding judge, Robert S. Lasnik, is expected to make a final decision on the matter shortly.
Vicky and surviving members Kim Thayil (guitar), Ben Shepherd (bass), and Matt Cameron (drums), have been at odds since at least 2019, when Thayil alleged that Cornell’s vocal tracks for the final Soundgarden album were being withheld. Several months later, Vicky sued the band, alleging that they’ve been withholding the late singer’s royalties in an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.”
The band subsequently countersued, arguing that Cornell wasn’t the sole author of the recordings, and that they should therefore be returned to the band; that they learned about Cornell’s death from Facebook; and that Vicky used revenue from a Chris Cornell charity tribute concert for “personal purposes.” That final part of the countersuit was later dropped.
In February, Vicky filed a new complaint against the band, alleging the trio attempted to buy out her share of Soundgarden with an insultingly low offer of $300,000 — which she says is less than she made from Soundgarden-related royalties in 2018. The band denied the allegations.