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Singer Rita Coolidge wins suit

LOS ANGELES, May 16 -- Singer-songwriter Rita Coolidge has won a $750,000 judgment in a Los Angeles Superior Court breach-of-contract lawsuit against Caliber Records, her attorney said Monday.

The summary judgment issued Friday by Judge Robert Letteau found Caliber violated its deal for Coolidge's 1992 album 'Love Lessons,' and said rights to the album and its merchandising will revert to Coolidge.

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Coolidge's attorney, Susan Butler, said Caliber of Los Angeles violated its deal with the entertainer by failing to keep an accounting of album sales and monies due to her.

'There was a clause in her contract that if they didn't keep an accounting, all the rights would revert to Rita,' Butler said. 'Nobody was paying attention to us when we said 'stop.''

In his ruling four months before the case was to go to trial, Letteau directed Caliber Records to pay $251,825 in compensatory damages and interest plus $500,000 in punitive damages. Caliber also was ordered to cover costs of the suit.

The ruling also nullified Coolidge's recording contract with the label and voided a number of licenses pertaining to the album.

'Finally she's out of this,' Butler said. 'It's hard for artists to be involved in litigation like this.'

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Butler has filed a motion for summary judgment against co-defendant Critique Records, the Massachusetts-based company involved in the Coolidge joint venture. The owners of the companies, Stephen Brown and Robin Wren for Caliber and Carl Strube for Critique, are set to go to trial in September.

Coolidge, 49, known for her recordings of 'Higher and Higher,' 'We're All Alone' and 'The Way You Do The Things You Do' as well as duets with ex-husband Kris Kristofferson, recently cut a new album of Japanese songs and currently is touring in Asia.

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