Corbello v. Devito

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint

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Who gets paid from Jersey Boys the 2006 award winning musical about the musical group the Four Seasons? Is it Texas attorney Rex Conrad Woodard’s heirs or Thomas Gatano DeVito, an original member of the Four Seasons, or both? The show continues to gross over one million dollars per week from Broadway performances alone. So who gets paid is a big issue.

Woodard, a music buff and writer, wrote numerous articles on the Four Seasons. Prior to his death in 1991, Woodard entered into a written agreement with DeVito to co-author DeVito’s biography and to share equally in any profits from the book or adaptations. The biography chronicled the Four Seasons/DeVito’s career and even touched on issues such as mob involvement and police investigations of the group’s members.

Woodard began shopping the completed manuscript in 1990. He even included a copyright tag line on the manuscript stating © January, 1991 Tommy Devito, Rex Woodard.

Woodard died in 1991 prior to the book’s publication. Woodard’s widow continued to shop the book for a publisher with no success. In 2007, a search of the copyright office records revealed an identical manuscript was registered solely in the name of DeVito.

Woodard’s widow filed sued in the Eastern District of Texas for declaration of her ownership rights in the manuscript, breach of contract and accounting between co-authors. The case was subsequently transferred to Nevada, the local of the defendant.

The second amended complaint added claims for foreign copyright infringement under the laws of the U.K., Canada, and Australia, as well as actions for an accounting, in the alternative, from the producers of Jersey Boys.

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Reference Info:Pleadings | Federal, 9th Circuit, Nevada | United States


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Tamera Bennett, Bennett Law Office, PC | Attorney Advertising

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