A newly filed lawsuit involving the rock band Paramore appears poised to test an interesting legal question that crosses the minds of many bands; are you and your bandmates partners or employees? The Paramore case pertains to the recently departed bass player for the group–Jeremy Davis–who is locked in a legal dispute with the band over whether Davis was an employee for the Nashville pop-rock band or a partner in the underlying business thus being entitled to a share of royalties and touring revenue. Davis (pictured above along with lead singer Hayley Williams) is alleging that he was a partner in the company which would entitle him to a split of all revenue. (Davis left the group in December 2015).
Editor’s Note: This is the second time that Davis has left the group. In 2004, Davis quit the band for personal reasons however, after a few months he was then asked back by the band.
As it turns out Paramore is owned by a company by the name of Varoom Whoa which had sued Davis first in the Nashville Chancery Court in February. According to the lawsuit, Varoom Whoa is fully owned by frontwoman Hayley Williams. To counter the lawsuit Davis asserted that he was a partner in the company and entitled to a split of royalties, touring revenue and other income earned by the band. Davis also wanted to examine financial documents, which he was not provided. Williams and Varoom Whoa say Davis was a paid employee, not a partner. Williams is also the one signed to a record contract with Atlantic Records (the band’s label), and she pays her band members as employees.
Davis claims Paramore was founded as a partnership between him and Williams and he also claims that he was responsible for decision making, including hiring advisers, musicians, stage crew and equipment managers, plus creating and managing staging and lighting and an array of other duties. “Thereafter, and at all times relevant hereto, Davis, Williams and [Taylor] York shared equally in all net profits generated by the partnership, from any and all sources, including but not limited to the Atlantic agreement,” Davis claims in his countersuit.
We would imagine there are many who want to see how this one shakes out. Stay tuned.
Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor