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Parton's '9 to 5' Is All Her Own, Jury Decides

December 19, 1985|GEORGE RAMOS | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles federal court jury deliberated only 35 minutes Wednesday before returning a verdict in favor of entertainer Dolly Parton, finding that she did not copy the work of a husband-wife songwriting team when she penned her hit single "9 to 5."

The 39-year-old singer was not in court when the six-member jury returned its verdict. She was undergoing routine tests at an undisclosed hospital.

One of her lawyers, Peter Hoffman of Los Angeles, quoted her as saying:

"I'm relieved that it's all over. I feel that my reputation has been vindicated."

Throughout the two-week trial, Parton repeatedly said that she was hurt by the copyright infringement lawsuit brought against her by Neil and Jan Goldberg, who claimed that Parton copied their 1976 song, "Money World."

The Goldbergs, who had sued for $1 million and other unspecified damages, testified that two albums containing their song were sent in 1978 to actress Jane Fonda, whose production company made the 1981 movie "9 to 5," which starred Parton, Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

When they learned that Parton's song was the film's theme song, the couple concluded that she had somehow copied their work from the albums sent to Fonda's Santa Monica home, they testified.

Both Parton and Fonda denied in court that the Goldbergs' tune was copied.

Fonda testified that it is her policy to throw away any unsolicited albums and tapes that are sent to her.

After final arguments, the jury began deliberations at 2:35 p.m. At 3:10 p.m., the panel sent a note to U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., informing him that a verdict had been reached.

Although the quickness of the deliberations surprised the opposing sides, it was no big deal to the jurors.

"When we got in there (in the jury room), we went around the room and everybody was pretty much of the same opinion," said juror Jill Knapp, 24 of Simi Valley. "When it came right down to it, we all felt that there was no similarity."

Another juror added, "The songs just didn't mesh."

Despite the verdict, Neil Goldberg, 42, remained firm in his conviction that Parton copied "Money World."

"Everything we said in court was true," he said, "and everything we put on (as evidence) was true."

Jan Goldberg said: "It's only money."

Terry Steinhart, attorney for the Goldbergs, said there will be no appeal.

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