Just after the late Ray Charles’ last studio album swept the Grammy Awards with eight honors, a studio engineer filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles claiming he was denied proper credit and shut out of those awards.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Mark Fleming sued record label Concord Music Group and Ray Charles Enterprises, which administers the late singer’s business interests, alleging breach of oral contract and negligent misrepresentation.
The Grammys Sunday honored Charles with five posthumous awards, including the coveted album and record of the year prizes.
The album also won production awards for arrangement, engineering and surround sound, bringing its overall tally to eight out of 10 nominations.
“Genius Loves Company” has become the biggest album of Charles’ career, selling 2.1 million copies since its release in September, despite a near-total lack of radio airplay.
In the suit, Fleming claimed that during the album’s production, Concord and Ray Charles Enterprises asked him to perform engineering services and promised him full credit in the form of “recorded by” for any songs he worked on.
As a result of the promise, Fleming said he agreed to provide his services at a reduced rate, the lawsuit said.
The suit says that after his work he was falsely told by Concord Records that the released version of the album did not contain any of his work, so he agreed to receive an “additional engineer” credit.
In the suit, Fleming said the album did in fact contain his work on songs like “Here We Go Again” and “Sweet Potato Pie” for which he was given only the “additional engineer” credit.
A spokeswoman for Concord said the label made every effort to ensure all those who contributed to the creation of “Genius Loves Company” were given the proper and appropriate credit.
“To that end, the plaintiff’s credits were verified to be accurate prior to the release of the CD more than six months ago,” she said.
A spokesman for Ray Charles Enterprises said the timing of the suit was unfortunate, coming just after the accolades that the album won at the Grammy Awards.