Court Ruling Favors McGraw

A Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling yesterday (9/26) affirmed a lower court's 2011 rejection of Curb Records' request for an injunction that would have prevented Tim McGraw from signing with another label. The decision appears to clear the way for McGraw to release a new album on Big Machine, with which he signed in May. "This ruling makes it clear that Tim McGraw is a Big Machine recording artist," McGraw's attorney Bill Ramsey tells Country Aircheck. "He is no longer a Curb artist. He satisfied his obligations in good faith and delivered a lot of great albums to Curb, including Emotional Traffic."

A Curb statement reads: "We respectfully disagree with today’s ruling by the Court of Appeals on that issue, and we intend to continue to pursue this issue, including through the further appeals process as appropriate..." Curb can apply for permission to appeal the ruling to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Absent a favorable outcome in that instance, all that remains is a trial on the merits as to whether McGraw and/or Curb are in breach of his recording agreement with the company. That trial, expected next year, may assess damages, but is unlikely to return McGraw's recording rights to Curb.

"We are in agreement with what Bill Ramsey says," BMLG President/CEO Scott Borchetta tells CA. "I signed Tim in good faith believing he was free to sign with us. We've been working toward a first quarter album release all along and have not been slowed by any of the legal issues."