Ex-Slipknot Percussionist Chris Fehn’s Lawsuit Against Former Business Manager to Be Dismissed
Lawyers for Slipknot and ex-percussionist Chris Fehn appeared in court in New York City this morning, November 26, before Justice Melissa Anne Crane, to hear motions filed by the band’s former business manager, Robert Shore, and his company, Rob Shore & Associates, Inc. (RSA), to dismiss Fehn’s claims against them. Justice Crane indicated that the motion to dismiss the claim against Shore in his individual capacity would be granted, while the claim against his company would be allowed to proceed.
Lawyers on both sides made their cases to Justice Crane for a total of roughly 30 minutes. At issue was Fehn’s assertion that Rob Shore & Associates, Inc., and by extension Shore himself, were acting in a fiduciary capacity to Fehn personally. Justice Crane repeatedly asked the plaintiff’s attorney why Shore himself is named in the suit, citing a “default rule” that individuals are typically protected by corporate structures. “I don’t think it’s enough to hold him individually accountable. It’s not clear he was doing something on the side,” she remarked.
An attorney for Shore and RSA argued that Fehn’s complaint did not give specific examples that Shore acted as a fiduciary, and therefore did not satisfy the pleading requirements set forth by CPLR §3016. Shore’s amended motion, filed July 19, stated, “The Complaint does not allege that Shore acted outside his role as an RSA employee, undertook a duty to Fehn beyond his role as an RSA employee or that Fehn considered Shore, as distinguished from RSA, his business manager. Fehn presents no contrary evidence in opposition.”
Justice Crane agreed with that assertion, announcing from the bench, “He [Shore] is out for now,” while indicating she would allow the case against RSA, Inc. to proceed.
“My client is a heavy metal musician, not a financial expert,” claimed Joseph Dunne, Fehn’s attorney, arguing that due to his lack of financial expertise Fehn implicitly entrusted Shore to guide Fehn’s personal finances.
“I get advice from my butcher. That doesn’t make him a fiduciary,” fired back Shore’s attorney, reasserting his claims that the relationship between RSA/Shore and Fehn was conducted at arm’s length. Shore, one of Slipknot’s business managers, had previously filed papers claiming that “Mr. Fehn performed with Slipknot and received a fee for doing so. He is not a shareholder, owner or member of any business entity he names as a defendant in this action.”
Dunne, Fehn’s attorney, at one point erroneously claimed that Slipknot “were not part of a record label that controlled them,” later adding in “until much later,” in an attempt to paint Slipknot as an independent entity in which Fehn believed he was a partner. In fact, Slipknot signed a seven-album deal with metal powerhouse Roadrunner Records in 1998, the same year Fehn joined the band.
Motions 5 and 6, which were scheduled to be heard today, were rescheduled so all future motions can be heard on the same day. Motion 5, filed by Michael Shawn Crahan (“Clown”), Corey Taylor and several Slipknot-related corporations registered outside of New York, seeks dismissal “for lack of personal jurisdiction” (claiming that New York courts do not have the power to adjudicate a case against them), and motion 6, filed by the New York-based Slipknot corporate entities named in the suit, seeks dismissal “for failing to state a cause of action.” Both motions will now be heard on January 3, 2020.
“This is done against Mr. Shore. You have replied. He’s out,” Judge Crane concluded to Fehn’s attorney. “RSA is likely in but I’ll render a decision on the 3rd. And I’ll try to get everything ruled on from the bench.”