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Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
94 F.3d 553 (1996)


Facts

John Fogerty (defendant) was the lead singer of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival and the author of the song “The Old Man Down the Road” (Old Man). Fogerty had previously authored “Run Through The Jungle” (Jungle), a song for which the copyright was later owned by Fantasy, Incorporated (Fantasy) (plaintiff). Both Old Man and Jungle were written in a style referred to as swamp rock. Fantasy sued Fogerty for copyright infringement of Jungle based on similarities between it and Old Man. At trial, a jury found Fogerty not liable for copyright infringement. The district court denied Fogerty attorney’s fees, based on circuit precedent allowing a defendant to recover attorney’s fees only if the plaintiff was culpable in its conduct in bringing or prosecuting the suit. Fogerty appealed, and the circuit court affirmed the district court’s holding on the issue of attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court granted Fogerty’s petition for a writ of certiorari. The Court reversed the circuit court’s holding and remanded the case for further proceedings. The circuit court then remanded the case to the district court. The district court held that Fogerty should be awarded attorney’s fees in the amount of $1,347,519.15, but the district court held he should not receive prejudgment interest. Fantasy appealed imposition of attorney’s fees, and Fogerty cross-appealed the denial of prejudgment interest.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rymer, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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