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Judge declines to pause second legal battle between Alan Parsons and his ex-manager

By | Published on Tuesday 13 July 2021

Alan Parsons

A state court in Florida has declined to put on hold a legal battle between the companies of musician and producer Alan Parsons and his ex-manager John Regna, despite there being another dispute between the two former collaborators also working its way through the federal courts in the US state. However, the judge did push back the start of the full court hearing in relation to the former case by 60 days to accommodate Parson’s touring commitments.

Having first build his reputation via studio work with the likes of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Parsons enjoyed success in the 1970s and 1980s through his creative partnership with the late Eric Woolfson. That collaboration used the moniker The Alan Parsons Project. In more recent times Parsons has worked on a solo basis, and between 2009 and 2018 his projects were managed by Regna and his company World Entertainment Associates Of America.

Parsons and Regna ultimately stopped working together due to, according to Parsons, “Regna’s erratic and intolerable behaviour”. After they split, Regna put together a live show featuring session musicians who worked with the Alan Parsons Project back in the day and then started promoting that show using variations of Parsons’ brand, including “The Project, the original voice, original musicians of The Alan Parsons Project & Friends”.

That unsurprisingly pissed off Parsons who, after initially going legal in Spain to try to stop a show Regna was organising there, sued his former manager through the federal courts in Florida in January 2020. That lawsuit accuses Regna of infringing Parson’s trademarks, breaching past contracts and participating in unfair competition in a way that has “caused and is causing Parsons many millions of dollars in actual damages”.

However, a few days before Parsons filed that lawsuit with the federal court, Regna himself sued his former client through a state court. His lawsuit is a more basic breach of contract claim involving WEAA and Parsons’ own company Appertaining LLC. Regna argues that Appertaining LLC has breached a contract between the two companies that made WEAA the exclusive manager and agent for Parsons.

Both sets of litigation have since been going through the motions, with the federal court case due to go before a jury next February. Meanwhile a full hearing of the breach of contract dispute was scheduled to take place before the judge in September.

However, lawyers for Parsons asked that the state court case be put on hold, and not just because the September hearing date clashed with their client’s touring commitments. They basically wanted the bigger federal case to be concluded first. They argued that, although the specific complaints are slightly different in the two lawsuits – and Parsons and Regna are technically not involved in the state court litigation in a personal capacity – the two cases are nevertheless part of the same bigger dispute.

Meanwhile, according to Law360, Parsons’ reps added that – while Regna filed his lawsuit with the court first by a few days – Parsons had actually served his litigation – ie provided papers outlining his legal complaint to his former manager – a few days before that. Also the federal court case has progressed further and is due to be heard by a jury rather than just a judge.

Objecting to the attempts by the Parsons side to put their client’s litigation on ice, lawyers working for Regna responded by talking up the differences between the two lawsuits. These are “not the same parties, not the same issues”, WEAA’s attorney told the judge. And while the federal court lawsuit will be considered by a jury, and maybe that’s better, the Parsons side could have requested a jury trial for the state court case too but did not.

The latter arguments seemingly proved to be more compelling, because judge Denise Beamer declined to pause the WEAA litigation pending the outcome of the federal court case. Which means, although that state court case will be rescheduled to accommodate Parsons’ touring activity, it will still be heard first.