A lawsuit has been filed in United States District Court, Southern District of New York against one of the songwriters of H.E.R.’s hit collaboration with Bryson Tiller, “Could’ve Been.”
According to a press release to Business Wire, songwriter Omerror Dawson is claiming that the song “Come Unto Me,” written for Grammy®-winning gospel group Take 6, was illegally sampled and copied for “Could’ve Been” without permission. Dawson is listed as a plaintiff in the suit with group members Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Mark Kibble, David Thomas, and Claude McKnight (yes, Brian’s brother).
So far, songwriter David A. Harris is named as a defendant, along with H.E.R.’s manager Jeff Robinson, and Sony Music. It is also possible that the other songwriters (including H.E.R. herself) could be named in the suit as well. The suit is being filed by Walker & Associates, who filed a similar, successful suit last year in regards to another H.E.R. hit, “Focus.”
The plaintiffs are suing for compensatory, statutory and punitive damages for copyright infringement and appropriation of likeness for an undisclosed amount and are seeking a trial by jury. In a statement, lead attorney James Walker said, “It is most unfortunate that after months of trying to resolve this, Take 6, one of the most iconic groups in music history, is left with no alternative but filing this serious lawsuit. We are also seeking a permanent injunction so that the album be pulled and the label freeze any royalties in connection with the album ‘Focus,’ on which the song in question appears.”