At the risk of saying something deeply controversial: it seems that contract law is very complicated and designed so that complexity is more a characteristic than a bug, with someone’s ability to get what they want. wants a contract having more to do with how they can argue about it than the actual text of the thing. Anyway, it’s on our minds because a judge in California decided to overthrow a 2017 decision made by a Los Angeles jury to award music producer Quincy Jones $ 9.42 million in damages due to unpaid royalties, he said, owed by the estate of Michael Jackson (via The Hollywood Reporter).
According to a judge of the court of appeal, the trial judge had not “correctly interpreted” the contracts between Jones and Jackson, and the case probably did not even need to be put to a jury first location. Instead, the judge should have “considered extrinsic evidence on the contract to make a preliminary decision” and then decided whether there were “at least two interpretations” and “enough conflicts” to warrant the participation of a jury, what the judge appeals did not believe. Basically, it appears that the appellate judge said that there was enough information in the contracts themselves to decide what to do, so the court of appeal examined it and found that a large part of the $ 9.42 million was not necessary and that the decision should be set aside. The court decided that Jones still owed royalties, but not to the extent determined by the original jury, so now it is up to the trial judge who “will greatly reduce the sentence” that had previously been granted to Jones.
So it’s pretty complicated, but the simple version is that one judge thinks the other judge did a bad job reading the contract and made the wrong decision, so Quincy Jones will get less money from the estate from Michael Jackson that he never had to get before.