LATEST: Hawthorne Heights have lost the first round of their battle with record label Victory after a judge in Chicago, Illinois dismissed two of the band's nine claims against their bosses in court last week (ends20OCT06). The rockers are fighting to escape their contract with Victory, claiming they have been the subject of trademark and copyright violations. But in court on Wednesday (18OCT06), Judge MILTON SHADUR poked fun at some of their claims, insisting the group's contention that their contract was "terminable at will" was "absurd". Shadur plans to leave the remaining claims, including unfair competition and invasion of privacy, to colleague JAMES B MORAN to oversee in the coming weeks. Moran was forced to step down from the case due to illness. A spokesman for the defiant members of Hawthorne Heights insists the group "remains confident" in "claims against Victory". In a statement, the band said, "We expect to prevail when all is said and done." Hawthorne Heights originally filed suit against Victory and the record label boss TONY BRUMMEL in August (06). The label executives countersued last month (SEP06), claiming the band was motivated by their desire to sign to another label.