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Judge turns up Spinal Tap lawsuit, clears band to sue merch companies for fraud

Harry Shearer and Michael McKean of Spinal Tap
Photo: Matt Cardy (Getty Images)

It’s been two years since Harry Shearer filed a $125 million lawsuit against entertainment groups Vivendi and StudioCanal, saying he’s received only $81 in merchandising income from Spinal Tap’s enduring array of albums, tours, swag, and home video sales. In 2017, Shearer’s lawsuit brought on fellow bandmates Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, as well as Rob Reiner, the director of the original film, upping the damages sought to $400 million. The suit alleges, among many infractions, breach of contract and fraud by concealment and misrepresentation. We also assume it contains the lyrics of “Gimme Some Money.” 

Now, Deadline reports that a California judge Dolly Gee has denied Vivendi’s motion to have the fraud claim dismissed. She’s also given the Spinal Tap crew a deadline to file an amended complaint. The case, it seems, may soon make its way into a courtroom, where the band will most definitely crank things up to 11. Read the full ruling here, courtesy of Deadline. As we previously reported, Shearer’s suit makes a strong case for Vivendi’s history of deceitful accounting and mismanagement, which includes using Spinal Tap profits to offset losses from other, less quotable movies.


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