The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

December 14, 2013

Judge: Cheap Trick lawsuit belongs in Illinois

WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge this week dismissed a lawsuit filed by three members of the rock group Cheap Trick against the band’s ex-drummer, saying a dispute among the musicians should be decided in federal court in Illinois, where they formed.

Guitarist Rick Nielesen, vocalist Robin Zander and bassist Tom Peterson sought a court declaration validating steps they took earlier this year to remove drummer Brad Carlson, also known as Bun E. Carlos, as a board member of three band businesses incorporated in Delaware.

The three other band members contend that Carlos, who stopped touring with the group three years ago, lost his voting rights as a shareholder because he had left the band. The longtime group, known for its use of vintage guitars on tour, gained acclaim over the decades with such hits as “Surrender,” ‘‘I Want You to Want Me” and “Dream Police.”

The band, minus Carlson, is still touring and is slated to headline a Mardi Gras event in New Orleans in March.

By agreement with other band members, Carlson stopped touring with the group in 2010. But he disputes their claims that he is no longer a member of Cheap Trick and is not entitled to participate in its business affairs.

Carlson’s attorneys argue that he was improperly ousted, citing a previous agreement that says any decision involving the band requires the unanimous consent of all four members. The drummer’s lawyers also said the Delaware suit should be dismissed in a favor of an earlier lawsuit filed in federal court in Illinois, in which Carlos and former band manager David Frey claim their purported ousters were invalid. The two claim they are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. agreed with Carlos’ attorneys, saying many of the issues in the Delaware lawsuit are identical to those raised in the Illinois case.

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