Songbyrd, Inc. v. Estate of Grossman
United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
23 F.Supp. 2d 219 (1998)
In the early 1970s, musician Henry Roeland Byrd created several master recordings of his performances. The recordings were produced in a Louisiana studio. In 1972, the recordings were transferred to a predecessor in interest to Bearsville Records, Inc. (Bearsville) in New York. In 1986, Bearsville licensed the recordings to Rounder Records Corporation (Rounder), which released an album in 1987 and a subsequent album in 1991 under a licensing agreement with Bearsville. Byrd’s representatives made several requests for the return of the recordings. In 1995, Songbyrd, Inc. (plaintiff) sued Albert B. Grossman’s estate doing business as Bearsville (defendant) in Louisiana state court, seeking damages and a declaration of rights to the recordings. Bearsville removed the action to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, then moved to dismiss on the basis of a time bar and lack of personal jurisdiction. The Louisiana district court granted the motion to dismiss due to the time bar. Songbyrd appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which reversed, finding that the claim was not time barred. On remand, the district court found a lack of personal jurisdiction and transferred the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. The New York district court considered the issue of whether the statute of limitations for conversion ran at the time of conversion, as provided in Sporn v. MCA Records, Inc., 448 N.E.2d 1324 (N.Y. 1983). Songbyrd claimed that the statute of limitations began to run when the demand for the return of the property was refused, as provided in Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation v. Lubell, 569 N.E.2d 426 (N.Y. 1991). Bearsville moved to dismiss.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Homer, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.