- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2016

Led Zeppelin’s lawyer on Thursday said the British rock band’s publisher should be awarded more than a half-million dollars in attorneys’ fees after its legal counsel successfully fended off copyright infringement claims last month in Los Angeles federal court.

Two weeks after prevailing over plagiarism charges concerning Led Zeppelin’s 1971 classic rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven,” attorney Peter Anderson asked for $613,471 in his latest court filing from the legal team that failed to convince a jury that the tune’s iconic acoustic guitar introduction was stolen from another band.

Combined with other compensation sought for items including witness fees and trial transcripts, Led Zeppelin’s publisher, Warner/Chappell stands to receive as much at $800,000 if their request is approved, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

A six-day trial in U.S. District Court concluded June 24 with a federal jury ruling in favor of Led Zeppelin in the face of decades-old accusations surrounding the tune’s origin. Contrary to claims brought on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe, the late songwriter behind rock band Spirit, Led Zeppelin did not create the intro to “Stairway” by ripping-off “Taurus,” a Spirit song released three years earlier, jurors agreed.

“We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years. We appreciate our fans’ support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us,” Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant said in a statement immediately after the verdict was announced.



Following Thursday’s filing, however, the case — along with the conduct of the lawyer who brought the claims — are in the spotlight once again. In arguing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, Mr. Anderson said the court should consider the “gross misconduct” exhibited during trial by Francis Malofiy, the attorney who unsuccessfully argued on behalf of the Wolfe estate in federal court.

“Attorneys’ fees are properly awarded in order to encourage and reward the litigation of a meritorious defense,” Mr. Anderson wrote on behalf of Led Zeppelin’s surviving members and the band’s publisher, Warner/Chappell.

“In addition, attorneys’ fees are properly awarded because of plaintiff’s litigation misconduct at every step of this case, from its inception through and including jury deliberations,” Led Zep’s lawyer added.

The memorandum goes on to accuse Mr. Malofiy of behaving “in a flagrantly unprofessional and offensive manner,” and said he had filed thousands of documents “that no reasonable person could believe would be admissible.”

Warner/Chappell should be awarded substantial attorneys’ fees to “encourage and reward the litigation of a meritorious defense,” according to the memo.

Before losing the suit last month, Mr. Malofiy told Courthouse News he had hoped to be awarded “[c]redit and more than one dollar” if the jury decided the song was stolen from Spirit. 

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