Zeppelin Suit Staying Put

Led Zeppelin isn’t in the clear yet over a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the family of late Spirit frontman Randy California, who said the band stole his tune when writing “Stairway to Heaven.” 

Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Robert Plant, Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones at the East Room of the White House.

Philadelphia District Court Judge Juan Sánchez has denied grounds for dismissal or transfer on Oct. 10, according to the city’s WCAU-TV. Michael Skidmore sued on behalf of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust (Calfornia’s real name was Wolfe) in Pennsylvania in May. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Led Zeppelin-related entities immediately entered a motion to toss the suit over a lack of judicial jurisdiction.

An amended complaint by the trust contended the band is in fact under the jurisdiction and “exploited” the song in the area for millions through CD sales, digital downloads, television play, and concert performances, the station said.

Skidmore reportedly lives in Massachusetts, and one explanation of his reasoning for filing the suit in Pennsylvania is an “effects test” that could 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.

If Skidmore is successful in proving the infringement, the trust is seeking thousands – potentially millions – of dollars in damages from the band.