Soundgarden drop benefit concert claims in countersuit against Chris Cornell’s widow

Posted by on July 20, 2020



The remaining members of Soundgarden (Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd) have dropped their recent claim against late frontman Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky over where the money from the January 2019 ‘I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell’ charity concert went. 

Back in May, Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd filed a counterclaim against Vicky, alleging that the money raised during the benefit was used for personal purposes and did not go to charity like what was initially agreed upon. According to the lawsuit, “Vicky Cornell did not have the intention of using some or all of the revenue from the Cornell Concert for charitable purposes, but rather for personal purposes for herself and her family” and that her “representation was false, or exhibited recklessness and negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and intent of inducing Soundgarden into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation.”

At the time the counterclaim was filed, Vicky Cornell’s lawyer (and the lawyer for Chris Cornell’s estate), Martin Singer, told Billboard that “As Chris’ former band members are well aware, every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for and their statements are not only false and defamatory but demonstrate the depths to which Chris’ former bandmates are willing to sink to tarnish his legacy.” 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the group dropped the claim in response to Singer filing a motion for sanctions against them. “When we threatened Soundgarden with the undisputed facts that their claims concerning Vicky Cornell and the Cornell Charitable Foundation were disgraceful and fabricated by requesting the court sanction them for their appalling conduct, they caved in and agreed to drop their claims,” said Singer in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “We were looking forward to having the court make Soundgarden and their attorneys accountable for their shameful conduct, but they instead backed off their meritless claims since they knew they would lose the Rule 11 motion, which is used in court to punish and deter parties and their attorneys from pursuing objectively frivolous claims.”

Soundgarden were able to amend their claim because of a Wednesday stipulation that allowed them to file a First Amended complaint. “The sole purpose of filing the First Amended Counterclaims is to dismiss the Ninth and Tenth Causes of Action and certain related factual allegations relating to the January 16, 2019 charity concert: ‘I am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell.’” 

While the band still believes the allegations were founded, they decided to “voluntarily dismiss them ‘for reasons communicated’ to Cornell’s lawyer.”

The allegations between the two parties have been going on since December 2019, when Vicky Cornell sued the band, their business manager and the financial firm Cal Financial over ownership of unreleased studio recordings left on her late husband’s laptops and the withholding of royalties. In February, the band responded with a motion to dismiss the claims, saying that the entire band was working on the recordings in her possession as early as 2014, no royalties were distributed to anyone in the band’s partnership and that the suit was filed in the wrong state. The latest update came in May when Soundgarden filed the aforementioned counterclaim.

The full stipulation can be read here. The additional allegations of the band’s counterclaim, including the ownership of the unreleased recordings, the “withholding of royalties” to Cornell’s widow and her alleged control of the band’s social media accounts, are still being pursued. 

Earlier this month, Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd launched new social media accounts as Nude Dragons.


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