Universal Music Group Asks Court to Pause Discovery in Backlot Fire Lawsuit

Universal Fire - Getty - H 2019
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Universal Music Group is asking a California federal judge to delay discovery in a dispute over master recordings that may or may not have been affected by a 2008 blaze on the Universal Studios backlot.

A $100 million class action was filed against UMG earlier this summer after The New York Times published a feature on the fire. The band Hole dropped out as a plaintiff earlier this week, after being assured no original master recordings were destroyed. Now UMG is asking the court to pause discovery until it rules on a motion to dismiss the complaint.

"Plaintiffs’ counsel have persisted in naming as plaintiffs three parties — Tom Whalley (for Tupac Shakur), Jane Petty (for Tom Petty), and Steve Earle — despite the fact that UMG has affirmatively informed them that no original master recordings were destroyed for these artists and that Plaintiffs have not alleged facts confirming otherwise," writes attorney Scott Edelman. "Notwithstanding the baselessness of Plaintiffs’ claims, they have served burdensome and harassing discovery on UMG that seeks documents stretching back decades, including for every single recording artist pertaining to UMG’s assets that were destroyed in the 2008 fire."

UMG says its investigation into Soundgarden's masters is ongoing.

Edelman goes on to say the press frenzy surrounding the situation will not force UMG to "capitulate to their unmeritorious claims" and that calling the discovery requests "a proverbial 'fishing expedition' would be an understatement."

Read the full filing below.