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Bay City Rollers lose appeal over royalties

By | Published on Monday 2 September 2013

Bay City Rollers

Three former members of the Bay City Rollers have failed, for a second time, to have themselves added to a lawsuit being pursued by other former Rollers against Arista Records, now part of Sony Music’s RCA.

In a complicated case, the band’s original vocalist, Gordon Clark, along with two other ex-Rollers, Ian Mitchell and Pat McGlynn, sued six other members of the band in a bid to be included in their separate case against Arista over unpaid royalties. The original lawsuit launched by Eric Faulkner, Duncan Faure, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Leslie McKeown and Stuart Wood against the major label is still working its way through the courts, very slowly.

Clark, Mitchell and McGlynn were not included in that lawsuit, but feel they should have been. And so, they sued both the other band members and Arista, claiming anticipatory breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

At first instance they lost on both counts. But the claimants felt that first time round the judge hearing the case made an error regards the unjust enrichment claim, and took that element of the case to the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals. But last week the appeals court backed the lower court’s ruling.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the judge overseeing the appeal wrote in his judgement: “A claim for unjust enrichment must be based on the value of plaintiffs’ contribution to the joint effort of the band at the time it made the relevant records, not on the income stream resulting from a revival over thirty years later. That contribution and the failure of the defendants to pay for the value of the effort occurred well over six years ago and is barred by the statute of limitations”.