Soundgarden Take Back Benefit-Theft Claims Against Vicky Cornell
Soundgarden have dropped a counterclaim alleging that late singer Chris Cornell's widow used charity funds for "personal purposes for herself and her family."
The allegation was part of a legal action that began when Vicky Cornell filed legal documents in December 2019 asserting ownership of several unreleased Soundgarden songs, adding that "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in royalty payments were "indisputably owed" to her and their children. The group was trying to construct a final album featuring unfinished work with Chris Cornell.
Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd answered with a suit alleging Vicky Cornell misappropriated the money after they played last year's "I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell" charity concert, saying "recipient(s) of the revenue have not been identified" even though the show "raised many millions of dollars."
It's unclear why Soundgarden dropped their counterclaim, though Vicky Cornell's attorney Martin Singer had already firmly denied the allegations. "Every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for," he said in May, "and their statements are not only false and defamatory but demonstrate the depths to which Chris' former bandmates are willing to sink to tarnish his legacy."
Singer's firm threatened Soundgarden with Rule 11 sanctions for filing a "shameful and objectively frivolous" suit, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That regulation is meant to deter and punish plaintiffs and lawyers who make baseless allegations, he said.
“When we threatened Soundgarden with the undisputed facts that their claims concerning Vicky Cornell and the Cornell Charitable Foundation were disgraceful and fabricated by requesting the court sanction them for their appalling conduct, they caved in and agreed to drop their claims," Singer said in an official statement.
Soundgarden's new filing said they still feel the allegation was "well-founded," but they've voluntarily dismissed their suit "for reasons communicated" to Vicky Cornell's lawyers.