The Imperials, one of Christian music's most popular singing groups in the 1970s and early '80s, are currently embroiled in a complex legal battle over who owns the group's name — and who gets to reap the profits from that name.

Armond Morales, who in 1964 cofounded the group that went on to win four Grammys and 13 Dove Awards, and his wife, Bonnie, are being sued for the Imperials name by a younger group that includes Armond's son, Jason Morales.

That younger group — four singers who say they're now the "real" Imperials — claims that when the elder Morales signed an assignment of trademark in 2005, he transferred ownership of the name to the four singers in the current lineup.

Armond Morales, 75, told Christianity Today he did not consult an attorney before signing the assignment, and now says he was pressured into signing away more than he bargained for, and perhaps more than he owned the rights to.

"They have set out to really put me out of business and have no connection with the Imperials, which was my life," Morales said. "I've been devastated by this."

The younger group filed a lawsuit in June 2007. Armond's attorneys drafted a countersuit in September 2007, claiming that the younger group fraudulently got him to sign the 2005 agreement. But the elder Morales said he decided to drop the countersuit due to financial limitations.

A Nashville judge ordered the two sides to mediation in hopes that they would settle out of court.

Luke Anderson, an attorney representing the younger group, said he believes the case will end up in court later this year. Anderson said his clients "remain wishful [for a settlement], but also skeptical that this matter will settle at this point."

CT obtained a copy of the 2005 assignment ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueHow to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian
How to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian Subscriber Access Only
No teasing, no favorites, and hours and hours of time with one other.
Current IssueOur May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Our May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Can research about the fruit of the spirit make you a better Christian?
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickThe Church's Three-Part Harmony
The Church's Three-Part Harmony
Why evangelical, sacramental, and Pentecostal Christians belong together in one body.
Christianity Today
Imperials Embroiled in Lawsuit Over Name
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.