It’s only just begun.
John Oates has filed a first-person declaration defending himself after his longtime music partner and one-half of Hall & Oates, Daryl Hall, accused him of trying to sell his part of their music rights.
“Far from becoming ‘adversarial and aggressive instead of professional and courteous,’ as Daryl has claimed, over the last 50 years I have always devoted my energy to ensuring that both the public and the music industry perceive the Hall & Oates music and brand in the most positive light,” Oates, 75, said in his court documents, obtained by Billboard.
Oates claims that the pair “have not seen eye to eye,” but he has presented “opportunities to improve and protect the business and artistic integrity of the partnership.”
“In fact, Daryl has become unwilling to work with me to try to protect the marks and other intellectual property that we spent decades building,” he continued to allege.
“[Just Hall has] consistently and publicly been adamant about being perceived as an individual rather than as part of a duo or group,” he went on,” and “now [I] must act with truthfulness and make decisions that are right for myself, my family, and my artistic future.”
On Nov. 16, Hall, 77, and his organization, the Daryl Hall Revocable Trust, filed an initial lawsuit against Oates’ trust, the John W. Oates TISA Trust, and its co-trustees in Nashville. The documents were sealed, but were labeled as relating to a “contract/debt” suit.
He also received a temporary restraining order from Oates, which went into effect Nov. 30.
On Nov. 29, the feud between the musicians became more clear when Hall filed new documents claiming Oates ambushed him with plans to sell Oates’ half of their company, Whole Oats Enterprises, LLP, to Primary Wave, a prominent music publishing company.
“This recent bad faith conduct by John Oates and the Oates Trust has created tremendous upheaval, harm, and difficulty in my life,” Hall wrote. “Not to mention unnecessary expense and burden, during a time when I am in the middle of a tour throughout the U.S. West Coast, Japan, and Manilla and need to focus and perform at top level.”
“I believe that John Oates timed the Unauthorized Transaction to create the most harm to me,” the frontman continued. “Respectfully, he must be stopped from this latest wrongdoing and his malicious conduct reined in once and for all.”
Hall later called the move “completely clandestine.”
“His behavior has become adversarial and aggressive instead of professional and courteous,” Hall wrote. “He began making numerous demands upon me related to, among other things, the social media and trademark assets in WOE, creating disagreements brought to my door by a revolving cast of lawyers.
“It appears to me that John Oates’ intent has become to burden and harass me without regard to my interests as his business partner, or the interests of WOE.”
Oates’ first-person declaration was in response to Halls’ Nov. 29 allegations.
On Thursday, the pair’s lawyers battled in court at a live hearing in Davidson County Chancery Court in Nashville, arguing over Hall’s bid for the restraining order that would continue blocking Oates from selling his stake of their work. Hall and Oates were not present.
Hall was represented by Christine Lepera of the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, while Oates is being represented by Derek Crownover from the firm Loeb & Loeb LLP.
Lepera argued that it would be “most efficient” to issue a court order that holds off the sale until a private arbitrator can hear the case to determine if Oates was legally allowed to sell his stake to Primary Wave. In response, Crownover said no additional injunction was needed.
Chancellor Russell Perkins, who is the judge overseeing the case, said he would issue a ruling on whether or not the restraining order would be extended.
Hall and Oates met as undergrads at Temple University in Philadelphia and formed the band in 1970. They released their debut album, “Whole Oats,” in 1972, and they’ve achieved six No. 1 hits, including “Maneater” and “Rich Girl.” They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.