So what’s happening in the Larry Heard v Trax Records case? A legal ruling from the upper echelons of Chicago’s courts tells us the latest…

Last year, Larry Heard and Robert Owens filed a legal action against Trax Records, accusing them of a number of different things – failing to pay out any royalties for decades, breach of contract, copyright infringement and a few other things. The case was first filed in June 2020 and has slowly been making it through the legal system.

Now up on the Casetext website is a memordandum opinion and order by Sharon Johnson Coleman, a judge of the United States District Court representing the northern district of Illinois. Soon after the case was filed, Trax Records responded by trying to get the entire thing thrown out before it got into a courtroom. The legal ruling has now come back.

I’m no lawyer, so you can make what you will of what I’m about to say. But it looks to me like Judge Coleman has basically used Trax’s retort as a way of simplifying the case. Much of the case put forward by Heard and Owens remains intact. And Counts 5 – “Warranty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing” – as well as 6, 7 and 8 have all been dismissed without prejudice.

This is a legal term that means the case won’t be dealt with by that court. However, if plaintiffs Heard and Owens were successful against defendants Trax Records with what remains of the current case, it means they could come back in the future with the other counts.

Trax had 21 days to appeal this ruling – I haven’t been able to establish yet whether they did. It looks like this case has still got a long way to run…