There hasn’t been much talkin’ ’bout love between David Lee Roth and the Van Halen camp of late, and now there’s even less good cheer being spread around: Diamond Dave is suing his former Van Halen bandmates.
Roth and Diamond Dave Enterprises filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday that seeks retribution of royalties that Roth claims his bandmates kept from him, according to a court spokesperson. The suit names guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Michael Anthony, Van Halen Music, Van Halen Music LLC and Warner Bros. Records Inc. as defendants.
The band’s original singer alleges that, unbeknownst to him, his former bandmates signed a contract with Warner Bros. in October 1996 that increased the amount of royalties for record sales on the “Van Halen/ Roth Era Catalogue,” material recorded between 1977 and 1986, the period when Roth was the band’s lead singer. Roth claims he never received the additional payments that are estimated to be worth more than $200,000 by the end of this year.
The complaint accuses the Van Halen camp of conversion, conspiracy to convert and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeks unspecified compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages and legal fees. “Conversion” is legalese for stealing, whereby one party treats another’s goods or property as their own.
Roth also wants an accountant to examine all the royalty transactions pertaining to the Van Halen/ Roth Era Catalogue between July 1986 and December 31, 2002.
“This is not the first case — and probably not the last case — to examine entertainment industry financial and accounting practices,” Roth’s attorney said in a statement. “Until the defendants’ financial records have been produced and reviewed, we will have no further comment.”