A Philadelphia songwriter was awarded a total of $44 million after a lawsuit he filed against music producers over the use of music he created for an Usher song. Daniel Marino claimed in his suit that he built the bulk of the song that would become Usher’s “Bad Girl” from his 2004 album Confessions, and said he was frozen out of profiting from the recording.
Daniel Marino was awarded the sum in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court last week, when a jury issued a verdict ordering defendant William Guice to pay $6.75 million in compensatory damages and $20.25 million in punitive damages.
The verdict joined a settlement earlier last week in which Destro Music Productions, owned by codefendant Dante Barton, agreed to pay Marino $17.35 million as part of a stipulated judgment, bringing his total award to $44.35 million. Marino also received a third of the ownership rights to the song in question, a transcription of court proceedings in the settlement indicated. Guice, Barton, and Destro were represented by attorney Jason C. Berger of Margolis Edelstein
According to a civil complaint, between 2001 and 2002, Marino worked with Guice and Barton to create and record “Club Girl,” a song that would later be recorded and released by Usher on his 2004 album, Confessions, retitled as “Bad Girl.” Marino, who was represented by Francis Alexander attorney Francis Malofiy, said via the complaint 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.
Songwriters and producers, get your paperwork right before you’re looking at a big bill like this.