Former Band Member Sues The Roots

Frank “Knuckles” Walker, a musician and percussionist best known as a former member of the band The Roots, recently filed a lawsuit against his former band members and others.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

According to Walker’s complaint, he was a member of The Roots for 17 years and was terminated from the band in May 2017.  Walker alleges that he was unfairly compensated and that the other band members terminated him from the band in order to exclude him from future income.  Walker also alleges that after expelling him from The Roots, the band continued to use his likeness and images in concert posters and on the band’s website and social media without Walker’s permission.

The complaint states:

By misappropriating Walker’s likeness to promote their band, Defendants have converted Walker into an involuntary spokesperson for the band and have created the false impression that Walker sponsors, endorses or is otherwise associated with the band when nothing could be further from the truth.  Defendants’ unauthorized use of Walker’s image alleged hereinabove constitutes a willful violation of Walker’s right of publicity.

Walker’s complaint brings causes of action for:

  • False Sponsorship/Endorsement under Section 43 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125
  • Violation of the New York Statutory Right to Publicity in New
    York Civil Rights Law § 51
  • An Accounting of the Profits of the Band
  • Breach of Contract
  • Promissory Estoppel
  • Quantum Meruit
  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Breach of Fiduciary Obligations
  • Conversion

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