The Killers’ former manager filed a lawsuit Tuesday (Feb. 21) for at least $16 million against the band members and their current manager, Robert Reynolds. Braden Merrick and his company, From the Future, claim that the band members have not lived up to their contractual obligations under their original management and producer agreements, and Reynolds interfered with that contractual relationship.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, alleges that Brandon Flowers, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer terminated their 2003 management contract with Merrick’s company without legal justification. They also failed to live up to their obligations to pay royalties under a producer agreement.
“It’s always disappointing when someone works so hard to take an undiscovered band to make them famous, only to get stabbed in the back to save a few bucks,” says Merrick’s lawyer Howard King with King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner in Los Angeles.
Merrick claims that he first discovered the band in 2002 through a Web site when he was a regional consultant for Warner Bros. The label rejected the band, but Merrick continued to work with the Killers to develop interest from other labels.
The suit says that in March 2003, Merrick and Jeff Saltzman entered into a producer agreement with the band members to produce recordings in an attempt to secure a record deal (Saltzman is not a party to the suit). The following month, Merrick’s company entered into an exclusive management agreement as the band’s sole manager for at least four years.
The suit says that after rejections by all the major labels, Merrick’s efforts eventually led to a deal for the band with Island Def Jam Music Group. The Killers’ album, “Hot Fuss,” has sold over six million copies worldwide plus millions of recordings in other configurations.
Merrick claims that Reynolds, who was the band’s attorney at that time, initially charged an “outrageous fee for legal services” — 15% of the band’s gross income. After the band only agreed to lower fees on Merrick’s advice, Reynolds eventually convinced that band to shift management duties to him, the complaint alleges.
“The facts will become clear when the band files its answer — and cross-claim,” says the band’s lawyer, Michael Guido with Carroll, Guido & Groffman in New York. “He was an absentee manager. He breached his agreement and his fiduciary duties.”
From the Future asks for at least $15 million in damages, and Merrick seeks at least $1 million from the band members. The company asks for the same amount plus punitive damages to be awarded from Reynolds.