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Tim McGraw Issues Clarifying Statement Regarding Curb Lawsuit Ruling

Tim McGraw
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Despite a press release to the contrary on Thursday, country superstar Tim McGraw is not still under contract to Curb Records, and no legal finding has been made that he owes the label another album, according to a spokesperson for the singer.

In a statement to Taste of Country Thursday evening, McGraw’s representative says a court ruling from a Nashville judge earlier in the day merely granted Curb Records a postponement in its ongoing legal battle with the singer.

Thursday’s ruling is the latest round in a court battle that dates back to May of 2011, when Curb filed suit against the singer for breach of contract. The record label claimed that the superstar singer delivered his  ‘Emotional Traffic’ album ahead of schedule, violating a clause in his contract which obliged him to space albums out by 18 months.

McGraw then countersued, alleging that Curb Records kept him in a state of “involuntary servitude” by forcing him to wait to release his contracted-for albums. He alleged that the label deliberately released a series of greatest hits packages, which forced him to wait another 18 months before being able to fulfill another original studio album in his contract. To date, Curb has released a total of seven Tim McGraw hits packages.

In November of last year, a Nashville judge ruled that McGraw was free to record elsewhere while he waited for the lawsuit to be finalized. McGraw subsequently signed a new deal with Big Machine Records just last month and announced that he had 20 new tracks ready for release. Today’s ruling allows Curb additional time to determine when those tracks were recorded. The label alleges that if it wins an appeal, McGraw will still be under contract to Curb and the new tracks will belong to Curb to release.

Tim McGraw’s attorney, William Ramsey, declined Taste of Country’s request for comment, citing the rules of professional conduct.

A statement from the singer’s publicist reads:

“Tim McGraw and his counsel have received several requests for comment concerning a recent press release issued by Curb Records regarding the lawsuit between Tim McGraw and Curb Records. Rule 3.6 of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct makes clear that it is not proper for attorneys to make such out-of-court statements that will be disseminated to the public.

It is proper, however, for Mr. McGraw and his counsel to clarify the record in light of Curb’s misleading and inaccurate press release. The Court’s only ruling was to postpone, at the request of Curb, the trial as to damages claimed by Mr. McGraw and by Curb. There was no ruling about anything else, and specifically there was no ruling regarding the substance of either party’s claims in the lawsuit. The Court’s ruling did not effect, in any way, Mr. McGraw’s relationship with Big Machine Records.

The Court’s Order on the postponement and its prior ruling issued on December 8, 2011 are public documents and are available on the web site of the Davidson County Chancery Court Clerk. Mr. McGraw and his counsel believe that the rulings speak for themselves, and that it is not proper for either of the parties to issue a press release regarding these matters.”

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