The California Supreme Court recently denied a petition to review a lower court’s decision that Raymond Manzarek and Robert Krieger, two of the surviving members of rock band The Doors, are to be enjoined from performing, touring, promoting their band. The two are also enjoined from otherwise holding themselves out to be The Doors, The Doors of the 21st Century, or any other name that includes the words “The Doors” without the written consent of all partners of the Doors partnership.
The court also permanently enjoined Manzarek and Krieger from using the name, likeness, voice or image of Jim Morrison to promote their band or their concerts. Manzarek and Krieger were ordered to return all profits earned by them to the rightful owner of The Doors name, a partnership composed of the three surviving band members and the successors to Morrison, all of who were determined to be partners with a veto right in partnership matters.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case ends the appeal of the trial court’s ruling handed down by Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon on July 21, 2005, in connection with a dispute over the relationships and agreements among the various parties and entities that have an interest in the assets and the business of The Doors. The 2004 trial and jury deliberations took three months. The defendants also were directed to pay the plaintiffs substantially all of their attorney fees and costs, and that issue presently remains on appeal.
The plaintiffs in the litigation were John Densmore, the third surviving member of The Doors, along with the Estates of Morrison and Pam Courson. Manzarek and Krieger, the principal defendants, are each 25 percent partners in the Doors partnership and will therefore share in the substantial amount they are required to disgorge to the partnership. The other defendants were Ian Astbury and Doors Touring, Inc.
S. Jerome Mandel was the litigation counsel for plaintiffs Densmore and the Coursons. Mandel’s daughter, Pamela, was married to Jim Morrison at the time of his death.
“This dispute was about protecting the integrity and legacy of what The Doors stood for,” Mandel said in a statement. “The court’s ruling rectifies [the defendants’] injustices. It is a tribute to John Densmore and the Estates that they persevered though all these years, at tremendous financial and emotional expense, including sitting through such a long trial and jury deliberations.”
“We are particularly gratified that the court recognized Jim Morrison’s iconic stature as a performer, songwriter and poet whose body of work continues to influence musicians and rock groups worldwide,” added Lou Reisman, general counsel for the Morrison family.