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More than 40 years after the death of the “King”, a damaged Elvis Presley guitar has become the subject of a federal appeals court ruling.
The focus of Friday’s ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis is a Martin D-35 guitar that Mr. Presley played during his final 1977 tour. He died Aug. 16, 1977.
Mr. Presley dropped the guitar during a show in St. Petersburg, Florida, and gave the damaged instrument to an audience member, according to the ruling in National Music Museum: America’s Shrine to Music. v. Robert Johnson, Larry Moss.
Robert Johnson, a blues guitarist and memorabilia broker, bought the guitar in 2007 and delivered it to the music museum, which is in Vermillion, South Dakota, in February 2013, pursuant to a sales-donation agreement between him and the museum.
Several months later, Mr. Moss contacted the museum, claiming he had purchased the guitar from Mr. Johnson in 2008 and was its rightful owner. Meanwhile, litigation in state court in Tennessee, to which the museum was not a party, resulted in a January 2015 ruling in Mr. Moss’ favor.
The museum filed suit against Mr. Johnson and Mr. Moss seeking a declaration it was the guitar’s legal owner, and the U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, ruled in the museum’s favor.
A three-judge appeals court unanimously upheld the lower court’s ruling. “We conclude that the Museum is not bound by the Tennessee judgment,” said the ruling.
“Because Johnson never delivered the Martin D-35 guitar to Moss, Moss never acquired title to it. Accordingly, we uphold the district court’s determination that Johnson had title to the Martin D-35 guitar when he transferred the guitar to the Museum and that the Museum owns the Martin D-35 guitar.”
No, he’s not changing the song to “Marijuanaville,” but the singer and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffet will be licensing a line of cannabis products, reported The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday.