George Boxill, Prince’s sound engineer, was set to release on April 28, 2017 the “Deliverance” album that included a total of 6 songs from the late performer. However, a U. S. District Judge in Minneapolis agreed with Prince’s estate and issued a temporary restraining order barring Boxhill from distributing any unreleased recordings, including the “Deliverance” EP.
Last week the estate sued Boxill , alleging that he violated his confidentiality agreement with Prince’s corporation and tried to financially gain from the release of the EP on the 1 year anniversary of the pop star’s death. The suit went on to state that Boxhill had received no authorization to procure or release the songs and that the estate on March 21. 2017 demanded return of all recordings of Prince’s in his possession, including masters, copies or reproductions, but Boxhill refused. Finally, the estate argued that the representative of the estate, Comerica Bank & Trust had the duty to maximize the estate, not Boxhill.
A Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) is a pre-trial petition usually filed along with a law suit which seeks to prohibit a person or entity from doing something that would cause “immediate irreparable harm” if it were allowed to happen. If a judge is convinced that “immediate irreparable harm” would happen, she can issue a TRO without notice to the other party and without a hearing. A TRO cannot be appealed.
Here, District Judge Wilhelmina Wright, agreed that the release of the EP by Boxhill would cause immediate irreparable harm to Prince’s estate in that it would have deprived the estate of maximizing its value had the release of the album been instituted by someone other than the estate.
The TRO also required that Boxhill deliver to the estate all recordings he has of the performer. The TRO is set to expire on May 3, 2017, unless Judge Wright decides to extend it.