Vaughn v. Kelly, No. 06 C 6427, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 16, 2007) (Manning, J.).
Judge Manning denied defendant R. Kelly’s (“Kelly”) motion to dismiss plaintiff Vaughn’s case arguing that Vaughn’s state law claims were preempted by copyright law. The Court previously dismissed Vaughn’s motion to remand the case to state court, holding that his unjust enrichment claim sounded in copyright law and giving Vaughn time to amend his complaint to remove the copyright elements (you can read more about the case in the Blog’s archives). Kelly now moves to dismiss the amended complaint. As in the original complaint, Vaughn alleged that he introduced Kelly to stepping, taught him how to step, helped him write a stepping-based song entitled "Step in the Name of Love," and collaborated with Kelly to develop a video for the song. The Court held that Vaughn’s unjust enrichment claim was preempted by copyright law, but granted Vaughn leave to refile the claim as one for copyright infringement. The Court refused to consider Vaughn’s proposed amended unjust enrichment claim because Vaughn failed to amend the unjust enrichment claim when the Court first offered Vaughn a chance to amend and because it is improper to consider amendments as part of a motion to dismiss. The Court held that Vaughn’s breach of oral contract claim was not preempted by copyright law because it could be for less than co-ownership of the copyright, which would be preempted.