Walter Becker Estate Moves To Dismiss Steely Dan’s Fagen Lawsuit

Steely Dan
Anna C. Jones
– Steely Dan
Legacy Arena At The BJCC, Birmingham, Ala.

The estate of late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker has filed a motion to dismiss co-founder Donald Fagen’s lawsuit over ownership of the band.

Fagen filed a lawsuit against the Becker estate in November, claiming that a contract the duo made in 1972 states if one member left the band or died, the other would have the right to that member’s shares.

Fagen currently holds 50 percent of the stock in Steely Dan Inc. The other half of the stock went to Becker’s widow, Delia Becker, after he died in September 2017.  

Lawyers representing the Becker estate highlighted a clause in the agreement that calls for the “automatic termination” of a buyout agreement “upon the occurrence of any event as a result of which all the outstanding stock of the Corporation will be owned by a single stock holder,” according to Pitchfork. They argue that Fagen would be the sole stockholder if he is allowed to have Becker’s shares, therefore terminating the original agreement.

Fagen’s lawyers responded to the motion Feb. 7, claiming that the original agreement is meant to terminate after Fagen obtains the shares. They also argue that “it would be unfair for one band member – in this case Fagen – to continue to tour as Steely Dan and do all the work while a deceased band member’s heirs reap half the benefits.” The opposition’s response asks the court to overrule the Becker estate’s motion to dismiss the case.

Fagen is continuing to tour with Steely Dan this year. Steely Dan also played a couple of shows after Becker passed away, in addition to playing Bluesfest in London and Dublin.

Other shows include a night at the Theater At MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., selling 2,094 tickets and grossing $229,457; and a gig at WinStar Global Events Center in Thackerville, Okla., moving 2,923 tickets and grossing $233,738.