Founding Queensrÿche drummer Scott Rockenfield has filed a lawsuit against guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful discharge and more. Wilton and Jackson’s wives and several business entities related to the band were also named in the suit.
The lawsuit was obtained by Blabbermouth, who shared the following summary of it:
“In the complaint, which has been obtained by BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Rockenfield claims that he took paternal leave of absence from QUEENSRŸCHE in February 2017 after his fiancée experienced complications during the birth of their son and had to have an emergency Cesarean delivery. According to the drummer, his leave of absence was approved by the members of QUEENSRŸCHE and he was to retain an equal one-third interest in all QUEENSRŸCHE companies (QR Companies), including Tri-Ryche Corporation, Melodisc LTD., Queensryche Merchandising, Inc., EMS Music, LLC and Queensryche Holdings, LLC.
In Scott’s complaint, he claims that “Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson are the remaining members of the band QUEENSRŸCHE, as well as the sole or majority shareholders and members of the entities controlling the intellectual property and contractual rights of said group, to wit the QR Companies.”
Scott alleges that or about October 11, 2018, Wilton and Jackson purportedly “voted to dismiss Rockenfield from the QR Companies due in whole or in part to his taking of approved family leave. Rockenfield was informed of his purported dismissal from the QR Companies in a letter dated November 3, 2018.”
According to Rockenfield’s complaint, since 2017, Wilton and Jackson “have wrongfully withheld from Rockenfield all sources of income from the QR Companies in violation of the various Operating Agreements and Contracts governing the QR Companies for no lawful purpose.” In addition, they “have failed to provide Rockenfield with an accounting of the books, records, business and contracts of the QR Companies.”
Although Rockfenfield says he has continued to receive royalties from Tri-Ryche since February 2017 for the old catalogue, he claims he has “received no payments from Melodisc since February 2017, and no payments from Queensryche Merchandising since early 2018, and no payments from EMS since February 2017.”
Rockfenfield also claims that Wilton and Jackson did not include him in the recording QUEENSRŸCHE’s latest album, “The Verdict”, “despite his availability and willingness to participate.”
During all of 2017 and 2018, Rockenfield claims, he “remained active in all aspects of the QR Companies’ business, song writing, licensing options, and communications with the exception of touring.
“During his family medical leave, Rockenfield was in constant and continued communication with the band, participated in writing songs, and prepared for the band’s recording schedule that was set to begin in early 2018,” the complaint reads.
“In October 2018, Rockenfield participated in negotiating a new extension of QUEENSRŸCHE’s 2013 recording contract with Century Media, which would add two (2) additional albums to the recording contract, and continued to work to secure seven very lucrative licensing offers on behalf of QUEENSRŸCHE,” according to the lawsuit.
Rockenfield claims to be “owed compensation for lost wages and profits as, as well as an amount equal to the present fair market value of his equity interest in the QR Companies as of his wrongful dismissal, plus interest thereon.””
Interestingly, a source also told Metal Sludge that the band were planning to do a classic lineup reunion with ex-singer Geoff Tate and ex-guitarist Chris DeGarmo. However, the lawsuit has put those plans on hold.