On April 8, 2019, Minnesota U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright ordered George Ian Boxill (“Boxill”), a sound engineer, to pay a nearly $4 million arbitration award to Prince’s estate, Paisley Park Enterprises, for releasing an unauthorized EP entitled “Deliverance,” consisting of Prince’s original recordings.
The award was issued in August 2018 after an arbitrator found that Prince’s estate’s breach of contract and conversion claims against Boxill were not preempted by copyright law, as Boxill contended.
Boxill had contended in his motion that the arbitrator had “flouted” copyright law to punish him, but Judge Wright indicated that that the court did not have the authority to toss the award because of an alleged “manifest disregard of the law.”
Judge Wright was also unpersuaded by Boxill’s argument that the arbitrator had engaged in misconduct, noting that the accusation was based only on Boxill’s “disagreement” with the arbitrator’s position regarding copyright law. “Boxill presents no case law, nor has the court’s research produced any, that supports a conclusion that a party’s mere disagreement with an arbitrator’s decision is proof of misconduct by an arbitrator or amounts to an arbitrator exceeding her authority.”
Judge Wright granted Paisley Park’s motion to confirm the final arbitration award, noting that the estate is also entitled to reasonable attorney fees and costs related to confirming the award.
The estate is represented by Lora M. Friedemann, Grant D. Fairbairn, Anne E. Rondoni Tavernier and Barbara Marchevsky of Fredrikson & Byron PA.
RMA, Deliverance and Boxill are represented by Farzad Rastegar, Kieran Hartley and Douglas Perlman of Rastegar Law Group APC.
The case is Paisley Park Enterprises Inc. et al. v. Boxill et al., case number 0:17-cv-01212, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
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