Uncredited writer of Usher song awarded $44 million in damages
Now that's gotta 'burn'
A Philadelphia songwriter has been awarded more than $44 million in damages after claiming he was cut out of profits and credit from a song recorded by Usher back in 2004.
According to The Associated Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the lawsuit, that stemmed from songwriter Daniel Marino’s work on a song called "Club Girl", targeted the track’s other co-writers, William Guice and Dante Barton; Usher was not named in it.
In the complaint Marino stated that he created a majority of the song, including its guitar hook, tempo, chord progression, and other elements, while Barton and Guice added a beat and lyrics, respectively.
The song went on to become Usher's "Bad Girl", featured on the singer's Diamond-selling album Confessions.
William Guice was ordered to pay $6.75 million in compensatory damages and $20.25 million in punitive damages to Marino, while earlier this month, Destro Music Productions, owned by co-defendant Dante Barton, agreed to pay $17.35 million, bringing the songwriter's total to $44.35 million.
The complaint claimed that Guice, Barton, and Destro signed "secret contracts" with Usher’s camp, cutting Marino out of profits and credit. It also stated that Barton "explicitly acknowledged that Marino was owed money" until 2009, after which he "mysteriously disappeared" and Guice left Pennsylvania "to parts unknown."
Initially filed in 2011 against 20 different defendants, including Guice, Barton, and Usher, a judge dismissed Marino's federal lawsuit against every defendant except Guice and Barton. Marino's most recent suit was filed in 2016.
Marino also received a third of the ownership rights to the song.
Marino's lawyer, Francis Malofiy, commented on the win, saying: "For seven years, against all odds, we believed in our client and his claims. The $44.35 million verdict and judgment finally vindicates Mr. Marino."
Usher's new album "A" is out now.