Bowen v. Paisley, No. 3:13-cv-0414 (M.D. Tenn. June 16, 2014).
The Court held that defendant's counterclaims for breach of contract would proceed, but their counterclaims for indemnification and attorney's fees would be dismissed. Plaintiff wrote and recorded a song and alleged that two popular country music artists (Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood) violated her copyright interests. Plaintiff alleged that defendants gained access to her song when she performed it during a 2008 country music songwriting workshop in Nashville, in which two other defendants served as guest instructors. Those defendants alleged that s a condition of participation in the workshop, plaintiff signed a consent agreement, in which the plaintiff effectively waived her right to bring the copyright claims asserted, at least as they related to access gained in the workshop. First, the Court found that the defendants could not assert contractual indemnification under the agreement because it would lead to an "absurd result" of requiring plaintiff to defend the defendants against her own claims. Second, the Court held that it would permit the defendant's breach of contract claim -- based on a covenant not to sue provision -- to remain, but recognized that the claim would eventually lead to "a doctrinal thicket" as to its viability. Lastly, the Court held that the attorneys fees claim failed under the language of the contract.