Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit Lawyer Blasted by Judge
Francis Malofiy, the lawyer preparing to take legal copyright infringement action against Led Zeppelin relating to their massive hit 'Stairway To Heaven,' has been admonished by a Pennsylvania judge over his conduct in another case.
In the other case, Malofiy was representing Dan Marino, a songwriter who claimed he created the basic melody, tempo and chord progressions for Usher's song 'Bad Girl.' Malofiy brought the case against Usher as well as 19 other defendants.
According to the sanctions memorandum issued by Judge Paul Diamond against Malofiy in the case, the judge alleges that the lawyer deliberately misled Marino's former songwriting partner into believing that his client was only a witness in the case and not the defendant.
"Malofiy's discussions with [Marino's former songwriting partner] William Guice are the paradigm of bad faith and intentional misconduct," Judge Diamond wrote. "Defendants have shown clearly and convincingly that Attorney Francis Malofiy has acted disgracefully: lying to an unsophisticated, impoverished, unrepresented Defendant, thus convincing that Defendant to expose himself (probably baselessly) to substantial liability."
The suit against Usher was ultimately thrown out. But perhaps more significantly, while also noting Malofiy's "sexist," "abusive," and "flagrantly unprofessional manner," the judge suggested that the lawyer should be considered for disbarment.
"Whether Malofiy should be removed from practice is a question properly answered in another forum."
In the Spirit-Led Zeppelin case, which has yet to be officially filed with the courts, Malofiy is said to be representing the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy California, who passed away in 1997.
Spirit's original bassist Mark Andes was also reportedly planning to take part in the suit. Spirit were tour-mates of Led Zeppelin's; rock fans have long noted the similarities between their song 'Taurus' and 'Stairway To Heaven.'
Will Malofiy's conduct put the kibosh on this case before it even gets to court? Stay tuned.