A new lawsuit claims a friend to Kenny Rogers had the right to film the singer’s final tour, but no right to distribute the footage. If Rogers’ estate wins, it’ll cost that friend hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
TMZ found court documents that outline the lawsuit. Kelly Junkermann allegedly had Rogers’ permission to film the farewell tour, but the singer only approved it for personal use, not as something fans and the general public might someday see. TMZ reports that a DVD called Kenny Rogers — The Gambler’s Last Deal was set for distribution until his estate spent nearly $300,000 in legal fees to shut it down.
Now, the Country Music Hall of Famer’s estate wants money for damages and assurance that no one will ever see Junkermann’s footage, as it would damage Rogers’ brand.
The country icon — who died in March 2020 at age 81 — announced his Gambler’s Last Deal Tour in 2015 and wrapped it up in 2017. The CD/DVD set in question was actually set for presale in late 2019, but links to online vendors and video trailers are no longer working. Junkermann himself had a forward written for the package.
Officially, Rogers’ last call was in Oct. 2017 at a star-studded farewell concert in Nashville, but he played a few shows after that until he canceled all remaining performances after April 2018.
In support of their case, Rogers’ estate says Junkermann was denied permission both verbally and in writing to use his footage for commercial purposes. The DVD was slated for a Dec. 2013 release, meaning Rogers was still alive to witness the dispute. It’s not clear what condition the ”Lady” singer was in leading up to his death, however — Rogers was in hospice for a short time before he died of natural causes.
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