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Prince estate lawsuit: Judge rules in favour of late icon’s former business advisors

A Delaware judge has issued a decision regarding a legal battle over half of Prince’s estate, and ruled in favour of the late music icon’s former business advisors.

The verdict came in light of the ongoing estate lawsuit against several of the late artist’s heirs, taken to court by the musician’s former business advisors L. Londell McMillan and Charles Spicer Jr.

Over eight years after Prince’s death, the two are currently managers of the Prince Legacy LLC – the estate management company which they founded alongside several of the artist’s heirs.

Despite co-creating the company together, some of the family members allegedly made an attempt to remove them. These were named in the lawsuit as Prince’s half-sisters Sharon and Norrine Nelson, as well as his niece, Breanna Nelson, and nephew, Allen Nelson (via Billboard).

Now, a judge in Delaware has reached the verdict that the relatives cannot amend the LLC agreement to remove the advisors, as doing so would be illegally breaking the terms laid out.

In the decision, Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick wrote (via Pitchfork): “The LLC agreement is unambiguous and [McMillan and Spicer]’s interpretation is the only reasonable one.

Prince performs live at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“Plaintiffs here allege that Defendants breached the LLC Agreement by purporting to remove the Managing Members and amend the LLC Agreement. As stated in the above analysis, that allegation is adequately alleged. Plaintiffs have stated a claim for breach of contract.”

A statement shared to the outlet stated that both McMillan and Spicer were relieved by the judge’s decision. It also said that Johnny Nicholas Nelson Torres – a relative of Prince who joined the advisor’s lawsuit as plaintiff – agreed with the ruling.

“I have protected Prince and been his partner for decades. Nothing will change our history and my loyalty to him and his legacy,” said McMillan to Pitchfork. “We are pleased with the Judge’s decision and wish we were not forced to take legal action for the wrongdoing of the Defendants (and their advisors) yet we have a heavy responsibility to preserve and protect Prince’s legacy and all he created, by any and all appropriate means necessary.”

An attorney for the defendants has not publicly shared a comment yet, nor responded to Pitchfork and Billboard when asked for comment.

Prince died of a fentanyl overdose in 2016, and as he had no will, his six heirs were left to inherit equal parts in his estate. It also sparked a long legal battle over how the estate would be managed going forward.

The case came to an end in August 2022, and it was decided that the estate would split into two companies – one controlled by Primary Wave after it purchased the shares from three heirs, and another. The latter is Prince Legacy LLC, which is controlled by McMillan, Spicer and the three remaining relatives.

Musician Prince performs in 2005 in Los Angeles, California.
Musician Prince performs in 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Although the decision was agreed by both sides, both McMillan and Spicer sued the three heirs in January, claiming that they were attempting to oust them out of the company. They also alleged that Nelson had become “disgruntled” after they refused to accept her “unreasonable demands” – leading the situation to escalate.

Primary Wave have not been involved in the lawsuit, nor accused of any wrongdoing. Despite the judge’s ruling, the lawsuit is not expected to come to an end yet as it was also ruled that the two plaintiffs could pursue their allegations that the heirs had breached a contract by attempting to amend the LLC agreement.

This is a developing story.

In other Prince news, last month it was reported that the artist’s classic 1984 album ‘Purple Rain’ would be receiving a new audio-immersive Dolby Atmos re-issue for its 40th anniversary.

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