Franklin’s Songwriter Sues

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July 18, 2011 | 11:20am EST

Aretha Franklin’s longtime songwriting partner has launched a legal battle over royalty payments.
Norman West, who has worked with the singer since the 1980s, is suing executives at Franklin’s publishing company Springtime Publishing Inc., alleging they failed to sign a royalty agreement for a song called Put It Back Together Again, which appears on the star’s latest album, Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love.

In the lawsuit, filed at a District Court in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, he also accuses Springtime bosses of copyright infringement over an earlier song he wrote called Watch My Back.

West’s lawyer Jeffrey Thennisch tells The Detroit News, “These are two parties that have a long-standing working collaboration. Mr. West has the utmost respect for Springtime and everyone associated with it. Mr. West has told me that he owes much of his career to Aretha Franklin and that he views her as both a mentor and a guiding force in his career.”

West wants a judge to order company bosses to sign the agreement to ensure future royalties and award him unspecified damages.