Steve Earle Drops Out of 2008 UMG Fire Lawsuit
Steve Earle has dropped out of a lawsuit against Universal Music Group over the 2008 warehouse fire that destroyed hundreds of major artists' original recordings. His self-removal from the suit leaves only one artist remaining in the legal battle.
According to Billboard, Earle filed a request with the courts on March 23 to remove himself from the suit "without prejudice." It's a move that will allow the artist to take that issue to court again in the future, should he choose to do so.
Earle's lawsuit stems from a series of New York Times stories in 2019 about the fire, which ripped through a three-acre portion of the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot more than a decade ago. The reports revealed that the fire was much more serious than the company had initially let on, and had destroyed the label's archive of master tapes from throughout the decades. Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, Glen Campbell and the Carter Family are just a few of the more than 800 artists whose original recordings were lost in the fire.
In 2019, after Earle, Tom Petty's ex-wife Jane Petty, the Tupac Shakur estate and the bands Hole and Soundgarden filed their lawsuit against UMG, the company's attorney filed a declaration in court stating that Earle, Petty and Shakur did not lose any of their original recordings in the fire. UMG also claims to have copies of many of the videos, master tapes and supplemental recordings that were destroyed. Billboard reports that an internal memo from UMG states that the company is performing an ongoing, intensive investigation into the fire to determine which artists lost materials.
Currently, Jane Petty is on the only remaining plaintiff in the lawsuit.
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