May 13, 2011

Settlement reached after Willkie’s cross-examination of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., the billionaire co-owner of plaintiff Warner Music Group.

On May 12, Lime Wire LLC issued a statement announcing that it "has settled the claims brought by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Record Companies in the Lime Wire damages trial heard before Judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York." Willkie represented Lime Wire and its founder, Mark Gorton, in the action.

Lime Wire’s statement noted: "In the recent past, the plaintiffs have pressed for a $75 trillion verdict. The court labeled that claim ‘absurd.’ Plaintiffs then claimed that they suffered $40 to $50 billion of damages and that Lime Wire was responsible for it all. At other times they have claimed that the amount of damages exceeded $1.4 billion."

It was also noted in the statement that "On May 11, defendants cross-examined Edgar Bronfman, Jr., the billionaire co-owner of plaintiff Warner Music Group. Before that cross-examination was completed, the parties conducted a mediation and settled the case with a total payment of $105 million from the defendants, thereby ending Mr. Bronfman’s cross-examination." The cross-examination was conducted by Willkie’s Joseph Baio.

The copyright infringement action against the peer-to-peer networking service was commenced in 2006 by 13 plaintiff record companies, including Warner Bros., Motown and Capital Records, represented by RIAA. In 2010, Willkie was selected to serve as lead trial counsel for the defendants in the critical damages stage of the case. In March 2011, Willkie successfully argued a pre-trial motion before Judge Wood concerning the amount of statutory copyright damages the plaintiffs were entitled to seek. Quoting from Willkie’s brief, Judge Wood held, "As defendants note, plaintiffs are suggesting an award that is ‘more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.’"

The case was handled by partners Joseph Baio, Tariq Mundiya, John Oller and Mary Eaton and associates Todd Cosenza, Dan Kozusko, Amina Jafri, Rita Mitchell, Emily Kite, Avani Shah, Katharine Monin, Christopher Miritello, Jeffrey Novack, John Sim, Aparnaa Bhatt Saini, Maria Tihin, Ian Christy, Mili Desai, James Fitzmaurice, Carissa Mann, Robin van der Meulen, Nicholas Chiuchiolo, Jeremy Cline, Casey Donnelly, Jill Marie Magnani, Elizabeth Roache, Sarah Matlack Wastler and Samantha Williams. The team received invaluable contributions from partners Roger Netzer, Thomas Golden, Deirdre Hykal, Thomas Meloro, James Dugan and Mei Lin Kwan-Gett, and associate Sameer Advani. Legal assistants Matthew Sorensen, Philip George, Nathan Ford and discovery attorneys Matthew Samet and Mara Levy provided significant support.


Read "How to abash a billionaire," Thomson Reuters News and Insights (5/12/2011)

Related Practice Areas