Appelate Court Denies Curb’s Request For Injunctive Relief in McGraw Case

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• September 26, 2012

On Tuesday (9/25), a Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville upheld a 2011 Chancery Court decision to deny Curb Records’ request for a preliminary injunction to bar Tim McGraw from joining another record label.

At least for the time being, McGraw will be able to continue making music at his new label home Big Machine Records.

Curb Records’ original injunction request to be denied claimed the loss of McGraw caused the label to suffer irreparable harm. In the appeal, Curb argued that “breach of an exclusive personal services contract by a unique and exceptional performer constitutes irreparable harm.”

While the court agreed that McGraw was “unique” and “exceptional,” it upheld the original decision on the grounds that the “requested injunction would essentially place McGraw in a position of choosing between the end of his recording career or the indefinite continuation of a relationship with Curb that has become contentious.”

The court also maintained the opinion that Curb Records did not own the new recordings (including current single “Truck Yeah”) that McGraw has made as a Big Machine Records artist. As both parties agreed to an injunction hearing with no evidence, allowing a trial on the matter would prevent McGraw from moving forward in his career, a result which the court found “inappropriate.” This opinion gives McGraw ownership of recordings made after December 1, 2011.

Curb Records issued a statement addressing the court’s decision, saying “The fundamental issue in this case is whether Tim McGraw fully performed under his contract with Curb Records. That issue has yet to be ruled on by any court, and will be the subject of a full trial on the merits scheduled for later this year.”

The label originally sued McGraw in May 2011, and McGraw followed shortly after with a countersuit of his own. Curb argues that McGraw breached his contract by recording Emotional Traffic “even before the 2009 release of his previous album (Southern Voice) and without consulting Curb Records as to the contents of this record.” McGraw’s suit maintained that the material was recorded in 2009-2010 and that Curb was preventing its release to keep him on the roster indefinitely.

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