Business documents belonging to late crooner Bing Crosby's associates can be released in a wrangle over royalties the California Supreme Court ruled yesterday (14FEB05).

The court decided the business communications relating to Crosby's recording contracts signed in 1943, 1949 and 1956 are no longer protected by client-attorney privilege - the privilege ended once Crosby's heirs inherited his assets.

The WHITE CHRISTMAS singer, who passed away in 1977, is at the centre of a legal battle between his label MCA RECORDS and his heirs, who claim they are owed $16 million (GBP8.4 million) in unpaid royalties.

Lawyers acting for MCA believe the documents are key to resolving the lawsuit.

The court wrote, "When Crosby died, his privilege transferred to the executor of his estate and thereafter ceased to exist upon the executor's discharge."

STEVE KANG, a lawyer representing MCA, said, "The documents were communications between not so much Bing Crosby himself but between his business manager BASIL GRILLO and also Crosby's accountants.

"They concerned an audit that Bing Crosby was doing in the late 1950s and actually we're convinced that the issues they discussed in the audit and resolved are the same issues that the plaintiffs are raising today."

15/02/2005 21:42