Led Zep Suit Going To California?

Whether Jimmy Page took inspiration by a Welsh fireside and wrote “Stairway to Heaven” some 44 years ago, or late Spirit frontman Randy California actually came up with the iconic tune, may not be decided in court, if members of Led Zeppelin get it dismissed.

Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Led Zeppelin-related entities entered a motion to dismiss the suit filed by Michael Skidmore, who sued on behalf of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, claiming copyright infringement.

Wolfe, aka Randy California, died in 1997. The ex-Zepsters want the suit, which was filed in Pennsylvania, to be tossed over a lack of judicial jurisdiction in that state. After all, the three surviving members are subjects of the Queen and live in England. And Led Zep last performed in that state, unpaid mind you, at the 1985 Live Aid benefit in Philadelphia.

“The individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here,” says a memorandum filed by Team Zeppelin. “Under established case law, no good faith basis exists to argue the Court has general jurisdiction over them.”

But the memorandum argues that if the court should choose to not dismiss the suit, it could at least move the case to California, home to potential witnesses such as Spirit’s manager, other band members and Wolfe’s girlfriend at the time of his death.

Skidmore reportedly lives in Massachusetts, and one explanation of his reasoning for filing the suit in Pennsylvania is an “effects test” that can be applicable if an intentional tort is alleged, if the plaintiff felt most of the harm there, and if the defendants directed their tortious behavior there.