Soundgarden has dropped their countersuit claims against Vicky Cornell pertaining to funds raised from the January 2019 “I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell” charity concert.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Vicky Cornell’s lawyers threatened the band with Rule 11 sanctions for filing ‘shameful and objectively frivolous’ claims.”
The surviving members of Soundgarden originally filed their countersuit in May claiming Vicky Cornell and the estate of Chris Cornell was using the revenue raised from the “I Am the Highway” charity concert for “personal purposes for herself and her family.”
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Vicky Cornell’s attorney Martin Singer said, “When we threatened Soundgarden with the undisputed facts that their claims concerning Vicky Cornell and the Cornell Charitable Foundation were disgraceful and fabricated by requesting the court sanction them for their appalling conduct, they caved in and agreed to drop their claims.”
Singer continued, “We were looking forward to having the court make Soundgarden and their attorneys accountable for their shameful conduct, but they instead backed off their meritless claims since they knew they would lose the Rule 11 motion, which is used in court to punish and deter parties and their attorneys from pursuing objectively frivolous claims.”
At the time, the lawsuit says Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd had an “oral agreement” with Vicky Cornell to play the concert for free and that funds would then go to The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. However, the lawsuit then claims, “Vicky Cornell did not have the intention of using some or all of the revenue from the Cornell Concert for charitable purposes, but rather for personal purposes for herself and her family.”
Legal issues between Soundgarden and Vicky Cornell first began in December 2019. Vicky Cornell filed a lawsuit accusing the band of withholding “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of royalties in an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.”
These recordings have been talked about publicly by guitarist Kim Thayil multiple times, with him saying in a November 2019 during an interview, “We definitely have another record in us. Stuff that’s written, stuff that’s demoed and recorded — certainly. All it would need is to take the audio files that are available…There shouldn’t be [issues getting the record done] — there really isn’t — other than the fact that we don’t have those files… And I think that will happen. It would be ridiculous if it didn’t. But these are difficult things — partnerships and property.” Vicky Cornell has accused Thayil of “putting her family in harm’s way” by suggesting she’s being difficult regarding these demos.
In February 2020, Soundgarden responded to Vicky Cornell’s lawsuit claiming that recordings being withheld are actually the property of the band. They also denied Cornell’s claim the band was withholding any royalties and state they haven’t received any royalties either until “the Partnership, by vote of the Remaining Partners, formally elects to make such a distribution.”
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit around these audio recordings is still ongoing.