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Led Zeppelin Publishing Company Seeks $613,000 in Attorney Fees After Court Victory

Chris Walter, Getty Images
Chris Walter, Getty Images

To the winner go the spoils – or in this case, Led Zeppelin‘s legal expenses. Warner/Chappell Music, the band’s publishing company, is seeking $613,471 to offset attorney fees after claiming victory in a closely watched copyright lawsuit filed over “Stairway to Heaven.”

The estate of the late Randy California argued that Led Zeppelin’s radio favorite borrowed directly from the Spirit song “Taurus,” but a Los Angeles-based jury found unanimously in favor of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. It quickly got worse for the estate’s lawyer, Francis Malofiy.

He was subsequently given a three-month suspension for disregarding “various rules of conduct” in an earlier case involving R&B star Usher. Warner/Chappell is similarly citing “extensive and ongoing litigation misconduct,” according to Courthouse News.

Judge Paul Diamond, discussing the Usher lawsuit, described Malofiy as “sexist,” “abusive” and “flagrantly unprofessional,” saying the attorney had acted “disgracefully.” Led Zeppelin’s publisher added several other accusations to the list. Among the most explosive: They say Malofiy attempted to convince the Los Angeles jury that Plant had access to “Taurus” by showing them a photo that was “altered to omit two people and create the false impression that Robert Plant was speaking with [ex-Spirit bassist] Mark Andes.”

Malofiy ultimately earned more than 100 sustained objections in Led Zeppelin’s six-day trial, along with multiple admonishments from judge R. Gary Klausner. In addition to a suspension from practicing law, Malofiy was also hit with $28,000 in fines from Diamond. He appealed, but the suspension was upheld by an appellate panel.

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