LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Goo Goo Dolls' longtime drummer claims the band wrongfully fired him as he took a tour break for the birth of his twins last year.
Michael Malinin sued Goo Goo Dolls founding members John Rzeznik and Robert Takac on Friday in Federal Court. He seeks damages for wrongful dissociation from partnership, breach of fiduciary duty and seeks a judicial determination of a buyout price. He was let go in December after 19 years with the band, after the birth of his twin son and daughter.
"The manner, timing and consequences of the actions by Rzeznik and Takac demonstrate such clearly despicable conduct as to require that no justice can be done to make Malinin whole and teach the lessons of decency except to award not only just and fair compensatory and consequential damages but also punitive damages and attorney fees," the complaint states."
Malinin claims the timing of his firing "decimated" his finances and "was clearly timed to inflict injury upon him and his new family at the worst possible time" and that "punitive damages are appropriate to punish such sociopathic conduct and ensure there is no reward for hatred and despicable conduct."
While planning the 2013 tour to support the band's new release, Malinin says he learned of his wife's pregnancy with an expected delivery date of Dec. 30, 2013. The other band members knew of the pregnancy and agreed to hire a temporary replacement drummer while he took a monthlong paternity leave. He expected to rejoin the band for its New Years' Eve show in Los Angeles, Malinin says in the complaint.
But the band's manager called him on Dec. 27 to tell him he was out, and did not give a reason for his dismissal, Malinin says. Eventually, he claims, the band's attorneys sent him an email saying he was "terminated upon notice, without cause."
The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in 1986 with a different drummer, whom Malinin says he replaced in 1995 as a contract drummer before becoming a full member a year later.
When he joined the band, Malinin says, it routinely played small venues to audiences of fewer than 100 people but flourished after he joined, with several hit singles and LPs and earned Grammy award nominations.
After becoming a full band member, Malinin says, he was paid one-third of touring profits, merchandise revenue, recording advances and royalties on recordings on which he played. He also paid an equal third of all recording and touring costs, including for the tour during which he was fired.
Malinin says the band refused to pay him a severance and he no longer receives royalties or other income, even for the remaining shows on the 2013 tour he helped finance.
He is represented by Curtis D. Porterfield with Novak, Druce, Connolly, Bove & Quigg.
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