District Judge Robert W. Sweet


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Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and defendant, Cleopatra, cross-moved for summary judgment and judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiffs’ complaint arose from a consent order among the families and survivors of the 1977 plane crash that killed several members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The consent order restricted musical performances under the Lynryd Skynyrd name or exploitation of the band’s history. Cleopatra, with the assistance of defendant Artimus Pyle, a former band member, began producing a feature-length film about the 1977 crash. Plaintiffs filed the present complaint alleging violation of the consent order and seeking an injunction on the film and an award of attorney’s fees. Plaintiffs further sought an adverse inference sanction for spoliation of text message evidence. The court first ruled that plaintiffs were entitled to an adverse inference as to the text messages, finding that the messages were in the possession of a non-party in Cleopatra’s control. The court further ruled that plaintiffs were entitled to a permanent injunction, holding that Pyle’s participation in the movie bound Cleopatra to the consent order and that the movie violated the order because it incorporated the entire band’s history.