A federal judge has pressed pause on Yellowcard?’s lawsuit against late rapper? Juice WRLD (a.k.a. Jarad Higgins) until an administrator is appointed for his estate.
Last October, the pop-rock band sued for $15 million, alleging that the rapper lifted “melodic elements” of its 2006 song “Holly Wood Died” for his 2018 hit “Lucid Dreams” without permission.
The stay, which was filed on Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, came down a day after both sides responded to Marshall’s order to notify the court whether a “substitution” for Juice WRLD was necessary in light of his death in December, or whether the case should proceed as planned against the remaining defendants.
In his Feb. 10 motion, defense lawyer Mark Humphrey requested a stay of the case until an administrator could be appointed for Juice WRLD’s estate, arguing that proceeding would create an “evidentiary hole” for the copyright infringement case’s other defendants, given that the case is “largely, if not entirely, centered around Mr. Higgins’s actions and knowledge.”
In a subsequent motion, Yellowcard lawyer Richard Busch argued that the case should proceed while still allowing for a substitute, arguing that there was still sufficient time under Rule 25 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for one to be appointed without the need for a stay.
Marshall sided with the defense, ordering a stay pending an appointment of a substitute. He is asking the two parties to file a status report no later than April 13.
In addition to $15 million in damages, the now-defunct Yellowcard — which consists of band members William Ryan Key, Peter Michael Mosely, Longineu Warren Parsons and Sean Michael Wellman-Mackin — are seeking a running royalty and/or ownership share of “Lucid Dreams” or, alternatively, statutory damages for each act of infringement and for all defendants to be permanently enjoined from exploiting the track going forward. At the time they the complaint was filed, they were also seeking damages from Juice WRLD’s concert tours and other public appearances, arguing that the “overwhelming success” of the song launched his career.
The other defendants named in the case include “Lucid Dreams” co-writer Taz Taylor (a.k.a. Danny Lee Snodgrass Jr.), along with his publishers Taz Taylor Beats, Artist 101 Publishing Group and publishing administrator Kobalt Music Services; producer Nicholas Mira, along with his publishers Nick Mira Publishing, Electric Feel Music and publishing administrator Songs of Universal; “Lucid Dreams” publisher BMG Rights Management; record label Grade A Productions; and Grade A’s parent company, Interscope Records.
Juice WRLD suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest in a terminal at Chicago’s Midway Airport on Dec. 8 while law enforcement were searching his Gulfstream jet for firearms and narcotics. He subsequently died at a local hospital at age 21; the cause was later determined to be an accidental drug overdose.