Douglas Campbell Thomson et al v. Charles Roger Pomfret Hodgson et al

Parties Involved

  • Plaintiff: Douglas Campbell Thomson | John Anthony Helliwell | Robert Layne Siebenberg
    • Counsel for Plaintiff: David M. Given | Kyle Patrick O’Malley | Nicholas A Carlin | Robert Carroll , III
  • Defendant: Charles Roger Pomfret Hodgson | Richard Davies | Delicate Music | Universal Music Corp. | The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers | Does
    • Counsel for Defendant: John F Juenger | Alan S Gutman | Matthew E Hess | Robert A Jacobs | Sarah Emily Moses | Michael J Plonsker | Rex Daniel Glensy

Verdict Information

  • Verdict date: February 27, 2024
  • Total damages awarded to the Plaintiff: $0.00

About the Case


Supertramp, a globally renowned, multi-platinum English progressive rock band, had formed in London during the 1970s. The lineup included Mr. Hodgson on guitar and vocals, Mr. Thomson on bass, Mr. Helliwell on saxophone, keyboards, and backing vocals, Mr. Siebenberg on drums and percussion, and Mr. Davies on keyboards and vocals.

From 1973 to 1983, until Mr. Hodgson had left, Supertramp released six studio albums: Crime of the Century; Crisis? What Crisis?; Even in the Quietest Moments; Breakfast in America; Paris; and Famous Last Words (the “Supertramp Recordings”). These albums achieved Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum, or Diamond (10x Platinum) status in various countries in Europe and North America.

All five members performed on and contributed to the Supertramp Recordings and toured extensively to support these albums. They formed SUPERTRAMP, a California general partnership, in the late 1970s, later formalizing this partnership in a written agreement.

Messrs. Hodgson and Davies had been the principal songwriters, credited as such. Recognizing the contributions of non-songwriting members, the band entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (Publishing) on January 18, 1977, which outlined the sharing of songwriting and publishing royalties among them. According to the 1977 Agreement, royalties were distributed as follows: Hodgson and Davies each received 27%, while Thomson, Helliwell, Siebenberg, and their manager Margereson each received 11.5%.

In December 1984, they entered into a Withdrawal Agreement addressing Hodgson’s departure and their ongoing relationship concerning royalties. This agreement largely maintained the existing royalty shares and specified that Hodgson could not use the Supertramp name without “formerly of.”

The 1991 Agreement modified some aspects of royalties due under previous agreements but confirmed the shares and Delicate Music’s obligation to account for them “in perpetuity.” Plaintiffs received these royalties, substantial due to the songs’ revenue, approximately every 90 days until 2018.

Starting in the late 2000s, Hodgson produced “sound-alike” recordings of Supertramp’s hits, excluding Plaintiffs from royalties. From 2018, Hodgson and Delicate Music ceased accounting and paying these royalties, leading to complaints and ultimately a lawsuit for breach of contract and other claims. Similarly, Davies stopped paying royalties in 2019, claiming these for himself, which also contributed to the legal action.


Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music, aided by others, intentionally and substantially interfered with Plaintiffs’ receipt of royalties by wrongfully withholding and misappropriating these funds for their own personal use. Their actions had been malicious and oppressive. At all times, Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music acted willfully, capriciously, and with conscious disregard for Plaintiffs’ rights. Hence, Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music were liable to pay punitive damages. The amount aimed to punish and set an example.

Additionally, Plaintiffs’ damages had been ongoing. The breaches of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing caused damages to Plaintiffs, to be determined at trial. Plaintiffs claimed entitlement to songwriting and publishing royalties from Supertramp Songs. They argued that Mr. Hodgson’s, Mr. Davies’, and Delicate Music’s obligations to account for and pay Plaintiffs were ongoing and contractual.

However, Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music disagreed and failed to pay and account to Plaintiffs for these royalties since 2018. Their words and deeds demonstrated their intent to continue this failure.


Plaintiffs prayed for the Court to enter judgment in their favor and against Defendants. They requested that Defendants provide a complete and accurate accounting of all songwriting and publishing royalties received and paid concerning the Supertramp Songs from May 2017 until the lawsuit’s final determination. They sought actual damages from Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music, to be determined at trial. Additionally, they asked for a constructive trust on the monies owed to them and their fruits. Plaintiffs also requested compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages against Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music.

They sought a declaratory judgment affirming each Plaintiff’s entitlement to a specified percentage of all royalties from the Supertramp Songs as embodied on the Supertramp Recordings, with an order for these monies to be paid from the source. They asked the Court to issue temporary restraining orders, preliminary and permanent injunctions, and other orders prohibiting Mr. Hodgson from further violations of the Credit Requirement and requiring him to account for monies received and paid in connection with these violations. Plaintiffs also sought an award for their costs, disbursements, and reasonable attorney fees against Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Davies, and Delicate Music, as applicable and pursuant to statute. Furthermore, they requested an award of prejudgment and post-judgment interest and any other relief the Court deemed just and proper. Finally, Plaintiffs demanded a jury trial for their claims.

Jury Verdict

On February 27, 2024, a California jury received the case with instructions to return a special verdict on Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claims against Defendants Hodgson and Delicate Music, based on the January 18, 1977, Memorandum of Agreement. After deliberation, the jury returned with a verdict in favor of Defendants Hodgson and Delicate Music. Consequently, the jury’s verdict rendered the Plaintiffs’ open book accounting and declaratory relief claims moot. The jury determined that the agreement to pay royalties based on the  Memorandum of Agreement had terminated within a reasonable time, resulting in no amount due to Plaintiffs post-termination. The declaratory relief claim became moot because the Memorandum of Agreement had terminated, eliminating any existing case or controversy regarding its meaning. Accordingly, the open book accounting and declaratory relief claims were dismissed.

On April 2, 2024, the court entered a full judgment favoring Defendants Roger Hodgson and Delicate Music against the Plaintiffs for all claims. The Plaintiffs gained no recovery from Defendants Hodgson and Delicate Music, as all claims were dismissed with prejudice. Additionally, Plaintiffs Thomson, Helliwell, and Siebenberg were ordered to pay the costs. Defendants could request costs according to the rules.

Court Documents:

Available upon request