Court Slams Two of the Surviving Members of The Doors

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22 / — On August 13, 2008, the California Supreme Court denied a petition to review a lower court’s decision that Raymond Manzarek and Robert Krieger, two of the surviving members of the legendary rock band The Doors, are to be enjoined from performing, touring, promoting their band and 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, and ordered that Manzarek and Krieger 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 Jim 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 James 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, the litigation counsel for plaintiffs John Densmore and the Coursons, whose daughter Pamela was married to Jim Morrison at the time of his death, stated: “This dispute was about protecting the integrity and legacy of what The Doors stood for. From their inception they viewed each other as equal members. Unlike most other rock groups, their policy was to share equally all song writing credits and royalties, regardless of who wrote the music or lyrics. All decisions involving the group had to be unanimous, especially when it came to any actions that were inconsistent with Jim Morrison’s strong stand against the commercialism of their name. Unfortunately, the defendants in this matter violated these fundamental principles. The court’s ruling rectifies these 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,” said Lou Reisman, general counsel for the Morrison family.

The plaintiffs were represented at the trial level and on appeal by S. Jerome Mandel and Lilly Lewis of Santa Monica-based Mandel, Norwood & Grant on behalf of John Densmore and the Estate of Pam Courson. Jeffrey Forer, Esq., formerly with Weinstock, Manion, Reisman, Shore & Neumann, and now with Hinojosa & Wallet of West Los Angeles represented the Estate of James Morrison at the trial. On appeal, Mr. Forer was joined by Louis A. Reisman and Blake Rummel of Weinstock, Manion, Reisman, Shore & Neumann. The defendants were represented at trial by the firm of Lavely & Singer.