Eddie Money Wins Motion in Lawsuit by Former Drummer
Eddie Money has won a battle in a wrongful termination lawsuit by his former drummer Glenn Symmonds.
An appellate court ruled that Money's decision to fire Symmonds a few years ago is protected under the First Amendment, citing "free speech," and reversing a decision against a motion filed in 2017.
"A singer’s selection of the musicians that play with him both advances and assists the performance of the music, and therefore is an act in furtherance of his exercise of the right of free speech," wrote justice Helen Bendix of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"In so concluding, we do not suggest that employment decisions as a general matter are acts in furtherance of the right to petition or free speech for anti-SLAPP [strategic lawsuit against public participation] purposes," said Bendix. "Here, as we have explained, Mahoney’s [Money's legal name] decision to terminate Symmonds or, put another way, not to have Symmonds perform music with him, did implicate Mahoney’s free speech rights."
Symmonds filed suit in October 2015, when Money decided to replace his band with his children, ending a relationship with Symmonds that began in 1974. The drummer claimed Money's decision was due to Symmonds' age and health issues that included bladder cancer and back problems, both of which he said were mocked by Money.
Symmonds' fiancee, Tami Landrum, later joined the suit, alleging that Money repeatedly sexually harassed her. This includes a 2013 performance where, during a version of "I Think I'm in Love" that he dedicated to her, she said he faced her and "unzipped his pants, and put his thumb through his zipper (intending his thumb to look like his penis) and began to gyrate his hips and dance while he wiggled his thumb.”
In papers filed in his defense, Money compared his reasons to a fake album called Reasons Why I Fired Glenn: "Song No. 1: 'He Was Detrimental to My Wife and Children on Social Media,'" he said, adding that the second track would be titled “Is No Other Reason, Really.”
The case has been sent back to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Landrum's sexual harassment claims are expected to go to trial in August.