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Arbitrator sets out agreement to settle feud between Ramone heirs

By | Published on Thursday 5 December 2019

An arbitrator who has been attempting to negotiate a truce between the two owners of Ramone Productions Inc has filed court papers outlining a proposed agreement.

All four founding members of The Ramones have now died, of course. The company that manages the band’s brand and likeness is controlled by Mitchel Hyman (aka Mickey Leigh) – brother of Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) – and Linda Cummings (aka Linda Cummings-Ramone) – the widow of Johnny Ramone (born Johnny Cummings).

There have been various tensions between Hyman and Cummings over the years that have had a negative impact on the running of the Ramones company and the licensing of its brands. Hyman objected to Cummings changing her name to Linda Cummings-Ramone and naming her LA home Ramones Ranch. That, he said, was Cummings “misappropriating” the company’s intellectual property for her own use.

For her part, Cummings argued that Hyman did not act in the best interest of the company, claiming that he would “repeatedly, unreasonably withhold consent and approval for use of Ramones IP”. She also accused him of breaching previous agreements about the running of the company and of harassing her through regular litigious proceedings.

According to Billboard, an arbitrator called Bob Donnelly was assigned to the case in a bid to negotiate some sort of settlement between Hyman and Cummings. He said he was convinced that the feud between the two Ramone Productions Inc shareholders was costing them opportunities to better exploit the band’s legacy.

In papers filed with the court, the arbitrator outlines a proposed agreement. Cummings would be barred from using the name Ramones Ranch unless Hyman gives his approval at any point in the future. However, she will be able to keep Ramone in her name, is free to trademark Johnny Ramone and/or Linda Ramone, and can rename her home the Johnny Ramone Ranch or the Linda Ramone Ranch.

“Mickey Hyman and Linda Cummings-Ramone have been entrusted with the exceedingly important mission of preserving the legacy of the Ramones for its existing followers, and to grow this iconic brand to a new world-wide group of music fans”, Donnelly wrote.

“The only way those goals can be accomplished in my estimation”, he added, “is for there to be some radical changes made by Mickey, Linda, and their representatives and the way they all conduct the business of the company”.