Monster Energy must pay $668,000 of the Beastie Boys’ legal fees.
Last year, the band won a $1.7 million lawsuit against Monster Energy for copyright infringement. The hip hop legends claimed the drinks company had used several Beasties tracks without permission in a 2012 promotional video, which included a remix by Z-Trip of tracks including ‘Sabotage’, ‘So Watcha Want’ and ‘Make Some Noise’.
The band filed a motion in January seeking an additional payment of $2.4 million to cover legal costs. A federal judge in New York has slashed what he referred to as a “Cadillac Escalade” reimbursement, ruling instead that a “Honda Civic” award of $667,849 was reasonable.
“Here, the Court’s review of Sheppard Mullin’s bills suggests that the Beastie Boys opted to pay for, and received, the Cadillac Escalade, not the Honda Civic,” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer wrote in his 45-page decision.
“It was the Beastie boys’ prerogative to commission or approve such staffing,” wrote Engelmayer. “But the issue for this court is whether it is reasonable to shift the resulting fees to Monster, their adversary. And there is ample authority … for reducing a fee award where the legal hours recorded by plaintiffs’ counsel fell unusually heavily on partners with high hourly rates.”
The decision falls well short of the $2.4 million initially sought by the band, but the award is still large enough for them to turn a significant profit in the case. Monster is yet to comment on the matter.