Soundgarden Countersue Chris Cornell's Widow for "Fraudulent Inducement" of Charity Show Funds
Vicky Cornell says the band have "reached a whole new low"
Published May 07, 2020The ongoing legal battle between the surviving members of Soundgarden and Vicky Cornell has taken a new turn, with the group filing a countersuit against the widow of late frontman Chris Cornell and his estate.
As Rolling Stone reports, the countersuit was filed in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida, Miami division yesterday (May 6), and finds the band accusing Vicky Cornell and the estate of "fraudulent inducement" for allegedly using revenue intended to be raised for charity for "personal purposes for herself and her family."
The suit finds surviving band members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd claiming that Soundgarden entered an "oral agreement" with Vicky to perform for free during the I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell concert that took place in January 2019, with the intent that funds would benefit the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
The concert marked the first time Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd performed as Soundgarden since Chris Cornell's death in 2017. In the suit, they allege that "recipient(s) of the revenue" from the benefit concert "have not been identified."
The suit alleges Vicky Cornell's charitable "representation was false, or exhibited recklessness and negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and intent of inducing Soundgarden into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation," also claiming that Soundgarden "suffered damages" and "reputational harm" as a result.
Soundgarden's countersuit also takes issue with Vicky Cornell's alleged control of the band's social media platforms. The group claim she was never given permission to operate the accounts, adding she has used and identified herself as "Soundgarden" and has "removed fan comments and has herself posted images and comments to publicly-accessible Band Social Media pages. Some of those postings by Vicky Cornell are intended to denigrate the Band and Surviving Band Members."
"It is unfortunate that Chris Cornell's three former bandmates — who have made millions of dollars from Chris' hard work, talent and creativity — continue to attack Chris' legacy, his widow, and his young children by making salacious, scurrilous, and vicious allegations in order to distract from the truth," Vicky Cornell's lawyer Marty Singer wrote in a statement.
Singer continued: "As Chris' former band members are well aware, every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for 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."
Soundgarden's countersuit follows Vicky Cornell's lawsuit against the band filed in late 2019, concerning missing royalty payments and the rights to unreleased music.
She claimed that a set of seven unreleased songs were "solely authored by Chris; contain Chris' own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris' Estate" for the benefit of her and their children, while the band claim they had been "working on the files in a collaborative effort" until Chris Cornell's death.
Vicky Cornell also addressed the countersuit in a personal Instagram Story, writing, "As my beloved Chris would say, 'They've reached a whole new low.' A very easily disproven one…"
"When you attack the foundation, you attack my husband's legacy," she wrote. "The foundation has nothing to do with the issue of who owns Chris's vocal recordings. Their knowingly false allegations are a deliberate attempt to not just harm my credibility but the Foundation my husband and I created and everything WE stand for…"
Chris Cornell's estate is producing a documentary on his life and work. The late rock icon will also be examined in a new biography this year.