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An appeals court sides with Michael Jackson’s estate

Florida business disputes can have significant ramifications on the companies that are involved in them. The end result of these lawsuits can have an impact on the bottom line of millions of dollars. Recently, an appeals court greatly reduced a large verdict against the estate of Michael Jackson in an example of a long-running dispute over the interpretation of a contract.

Here, famed produce Quincy Jones filed a lawsuit against the deceased pop star’s estate. Two of his songs were used in a movie about Jackson and in a Cirque du Soleil show. The two had a contract that said that Jones could be paid for the use of his songs in a “video show.” Here, the issue in court was whether these two mediums represented a “video show” that would entitle Jones to payment. The jury found that this was the case. However, the appeals court held that contract interpretation was something for the judge to do in the case. Then, the judge would instruct the jury.

Moreover, the appeals court also ruled that the jury was incorrect in its interpretation of the contract. Accordingly, the appeals court trimmed the size of the verdict from $9.4 million to $2.5 million. For Jackson’s estate, this is a win because Jones was seeking $30 in his initial lawsuit. This may bring this long-running saga to a close.

When a business or an individual is involved in a disagreement over a term in an agreement that they signed, they should retain the services of a contract disputes attorney. Courts will often need to interpret specific terms of the contract in order to reach a resolution.