Danny Wimmer Presents Prevails Over Former Law Firm In Legal Feud

Welcome To Rockville 2017
– Welcome To Rockville 2017

A final judgment in the case is expected to be entered in a couple of weeks, attorney Michael Sherman, representing DWP, told Pollstar. Thanks to the ruling, a countersuit in the same case has been rendered moot.

The law firm of Davis Shapiro Lewit Grabel Leven Granderson & Blake, which invested in the first Welcome To Rockville, claimed in 2015 that it retained a membership interest of 14.3 percent and was entitled to a chunk of the profits now that Danny Wimmer Presents has become a force in the festival world.

Since that inaugural festival in Jacksonville, Fla., Danny Wimmer Presents has grown to produce a dozen festivals nationwide including Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio; Rock Allegiance in Camden, N.J.; Northern Invasion in Somerset, Wis.; Monster Energy Aftershock in Sacramento, Calif.; Open Air fests in Chicago and Houston; Carolina Rebellion in Concord, N.C.; and most recently, Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville, Ky. All told, attendance at those dozen festivals was enough to put Danny Wimmer Presents among the top-grossing concert promoters in the country last year. 

At the end of 2016, Danny Wimmer Presents was No. 29 among the Pollstar‘s Top 100 Promoters worldwide with 567,621 tickets sold. And that year’s Rock on the Range, co-promoted with

But in 2010, Danny Hayes, a former managing partner of Davis Shapiro who is now CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents, brought the nascent Welcome To Rockville investment opportunity to the law firm. The company agreed to invest $25,000 and take a 7.5 percent split of the profits of the successful event that took place in May 2011.

Davis Shapiro, according to court documents, requested its capital investment, plus its share of profits, be repaid a month after Welcome to Rockville’s debut. DWP repaid the capital in June 2011 and the share of profits three months later. The firm declined several requests to reinvest in subsequent DWP events.

Not long after that, Hayes separated from Davis Shapiro and joined Danny Wimmer Presents. The hostility between the law firm and its former partner appears to have played a significant role in the suit being filed.

Rock On The Range 2016 – Rock On The Range 2016
(click on image for complete poster)

L.A. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White ruled that the operating agreement between the law firm and DWP covered only the single Welcome to Rockville event, noting Davis Shapiro was repaid its investment plus profit share, and never reinvested.

She addressed the fact that Davis Shapiro did not make a claim against Danny Wimmer Presents until four years after actively doing business with the promoter. It was filed shortly after the New York Times published a report that the Auburn United Indian Council made a multimillion-dollar investment in what had by then grown into a very successful festival producer. 

Calling the filing of claim “a remarkable coincidence,” White noted the hostility between the firm and its former partner, Hayes, quoting a judge in a previous arbitration who called Davis Shapiro “a vexatious litigant” and noting partner Steve Shapiro’s alleged “manifest anger” at Hayes.

“What the law firm did [to Danny Wimmer Presents] is despicable and the trial exposed that,” Sherman told Pollstar. “Lawyers represent clients; they don’t typically do business with them,” he added.