Lee, Rider Swap Suits

The musical soap opera that is Evanescence got a whole lot dishier to kick off December, with manager Dennis Rider – now repping ex-bandmate Ben Moody – suing Amy Lee for breach of contract. Then Lee fired back with a suit of her own claiming, among other things, sexual assault and battery.

Rider’s complaint, filed December 1st, alleges Lee on November 28th terminated a contract with Rider that gave him 20 percent of all Evanescence’s gross earnings through “the end of the ‘third (3rd) album cycle,'” in breach of their management agreement.

To date, the band has released the multiplatinum studio album Fallen and a recent live concert DVD/CD set, “Anywhere But Home.”

Rider’s suit seeks unspecified damages to be determined at trial, but “in no event less than $10 million.”

Six days after Rider filed suit, Lee responded with a bombshell: an eight-count complaint charging her former manager with “numerous and systematic breaches of fiduciary duty, conflicts of interest, professional negligence, fraud and sexual harassment.”

Court documents allege Rider neglected Lee’s career and business while conducting “extramarital affairs, hiding them from his wife,” attending meetings while intoxicated, “making repeated unwelcome sexual advances toward Lee” and using Lee’s corporate credit card to buy a car and finance a Florida vacation for a “mistress.”

The sexual harassment charges include claims that Rider “put his head in Lee’s lap and ran his hand up her leg,” and on another occasion “told Lee that he wanted to perform a gynecological examination on her.”

The singer also charges Rider with conflict of interest for continuing to represent Moody as he pursues a solo career. Moody abruptly left the band in the middle of a 2004 European tour.

Rider attempted to gain legal advantage, Lee’s suit also claims, by dragging out settlement talks in order to file suit against her first.

“In fact, there was no interest in a reasonable resolution; rather, Rider and his litigation counsel were busy drafting a lawsuit to file against Lee, and used the feigned interest in settlement discussions to cause Lee to delay filing her claims against Rider.

“Rider (who himself is an attorney) engaged in such tactics to purportedly gain a procedural advantage of being a plaintiff by beating Lee to the courthouse steps.”

Attorneys for Rider filed a notice of related cases in Los Angeles Superior Court December 12th in an apparent move to have the two suits consolidated before a single judge.

In response to Lee’s suit, Rider attorney Bert Deixler issued a statement that read in part: “Ms. Lee is very creative in writing lyrics to a song. But now she is creating a version of reality that simply has no basis in fact and she knows that.

“Dennis Rider’s guidance of Evanescence and Ms. Lee’s personal career has made her a rock and roll celebrity worldwide and wealthy beyond her dreams. That she would now turn on him, make such spurious and groundless allegations and summarily dismiss him is illegal and disappointing beyond words.”

– Deborah Speer