Dimebag Darrell’s Estate Sues Dean Guitars, Terminates Endorsement Deal
The estate of the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell has terminated the icon's posthumous endorsement of Dean Guitars and sued the musical instrument manufacturer for, among other things, breach of contract, fraud and accounting irregularities related to the business partnership, as Rita Haney, Darrell's bereaved girlfriend and the trustee of his estate, revealed this week.
On Monday (Aug. 16), Haney issued a statement outlining the situation and shared documentation of the entire lawsuit on the official Dimebag Darrell website. Dimebag, whose real name was Darrell Abbott, switched from endorsing Washburn Guitars to Dean shortly before he was murdered onstage in 2004 during a performance by his post-Pantera band, Damageplan.
"After much consideration, it is with great sadness that I announce the longstanding relationship between Dimebag and Dean Guitars is over," Haney shared.
"Unfortunately, we were forced to file a lawsuit against Dean Guitars," she explained, saying it was "necessary for us to end Dime's endorsement of Dean Guitars to continue to honor and celebrate his legacy the way he deserves, and in the way he had laid it out."
"We do not make this decision lightly," Haney continued, "and it is with a heavy heart that we share this news with you, Dime's loyal fans. … After signing the deal with Dean Guitars in 2004, Dime was ecstatic to finally be working with the one and only [Dean founder] Mr. Dean Zelinsky, who's been gone from the company since 2008."
Indeed, some of the complaints leveled by the estate seem to stem from an allegedly growing disregard by Dean regarding Dimebag's endorsement in the years following Zelinsky's tenure and after the passing of the torch from former Dean CEO Elliot Rubinson to his son, Evan.
In the lawsuit, as Blabbermouth reported, Haney alleged Evan Rubinson was "incredibly disrespectful and often times belligerent to the legacy of Abbott." She felt Dean "had taken complete advantage of Abbott over the years and refused to continue a business relationship with Dean Guitars unless Dean Guitars was willing to right its wrongs."
The lawsuit, which demands a trial, also alleges that Dean "never paid the contracted amount for each full cover photo" of Dimebag with a Dean instrument that appeared in magazines and elsewhere. It also takes issue with Dean's apparent ownership of Dime's Razorback guitar design.
"Our love for Dime has not wavered in the 16-plus years since his passing," Haney said, "and he is still as relevant to us today. … In this spirit, we soon hope to have more positive news to share with you regarding the future of 'Dime guitars.' Dime loved his fans so very much, [and] in return, you guys have never wavered in your loyalty and love for him. We cannot thank you enough for your continued support."
Read the complete text of the suit at dimebagdarrell.com.