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Victory Sues Virgin For Allegedly 'Poaching' Hawthorne Heights

CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The continuing legal battle between Victory Records and Hawthorne Heights has taken an interesting turn, when the Chicago-based indie label sued EMI Music and Virgin Records for trying to steal the band away while they were still under contract.

In a briefing from the suit itself Victory states, "Unfortunately, this case is about an all-too familiar story in the music business: an unknown musical band, after struggling to be noticed, earns a shot at success by signing a contract with an independent record company. The company devotes huge amounts of money, time and effort and, as a result, the band achieves commercial and critical success. This success attracts unscrupulous would-be poachers. These poachers, fully aware that the band is already subject to a contract, induce the band with visions of greater fame and fortune. The band, swayed by those inducements, signs with the poacher – a so-called 'major' record company. This case is a perfect example of that story."

In the suit filed (Nov. 2), in the federal District Court in Chicago, Victory alleges that the band was happy with them until Virgin executives convinced them to sign with the major. The band hired a national litigation law firm and a public relations company to help extricate itself from its contract with Victory.

The lawsuit also charges Virgin with "tortious interference with contractual relations" and Victory is asking for at least $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. Victory alleges that Virgin President Jason Flom and head of business affairs Jason Kemlper influenced Hawthorne Heights' decision to sue to escape their contract. According to the suit, Victory discovered in September that the band had signed a new deal with Virgin, despite still owing two more albums under their previous one.

The band sued Victory and its owner, Tony Brummel, in August. It is asking the court to declare that Victory does not have exclusive rights to the band's recording services, among other claims. The suit is still pending.

"Although we generally don't comment on litigation and have not seen the suit, we're confident that there is no basis for the suit against Virgin or EMI," says a spokesperson for the companies.