Scott Rockenfield Sues Fellow Queensryche Cofounders
Queensryche cofounding drummer Scott Rockenfield has launched a lawsuit against fellow cofounding guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson, alleging they fired him in 2018 while he was on approved family leave.
In court papers filed at a Washington state court on Oct. 11 (via Blabbermouth), Rockenfield says he was dismissed from the band's businesses, described collectively as "QR Companies." He accuses Wilton, Jackson and their wives of breach of contract, shareholder oppression and wrongful discharge, among other acts.
The lawsuit states that in October 2018, the remaining partners "voted to dismiss Rockenfield from the QR Companies due in whole or in part to his taking of approved family leave. Rockenfield was informed of his purported dismissal from the QR Companies in a letter dated November 3, 2018." The drummer further alleges that since 2017, Wilton and Jackson "have wrongfully withheld from Rockenfield all sources of income from the QR Companies in violation of the various Operating Agreements and Contracts governing the QR Companies for no lawful purpose."
Rockenfield says he took a leave of absence while his girlfriend dealt with a complicated pregnancy, but remained an active participant in the band’s business dealings. "During his family medical leave, Rockenfield was in constant and continued communication with the band, participated in writing songs, and prepared for the band's recording schedule that was set to begin in early 2018," the document continues.
Despite this, Rockenfield says he wasn't given the opportunity to record. Queensryche completed their most recent album, 2019’s The Verdict, with drum tracks by singer Todd La Torre. Kamelot’s Casey Grillo has handled touring duties since Rockenfield initially stepped back.
The lawsuit claims that Rockenfield is "owed compensation for lost wages and profits, as well as an amount equal to the present fair market value of his equity interest in the QR Companies as of his wrongful dismissal, plus interest thereon."
Queensryche have maintained the position since 2018 that Rockenfield decided not to return to the band. "Basically when we started to record The Verdict, we hadn’t heard from him,” Wilton said the following year. "He had more of a, personal obligations that he was doing, and then he told us that he couldn’t drum on the record. … He's a very private person, and we respect what he's doing. It left him in a situation where he really isn't touring anymore."
Rockenfield broke his silence regarding his Queensryche status earlier this year in a social media post. "Contrary to any statements or interviews coming from other parties, I most definitely did not and have not quit, walked away, retired or abandoned Queensryche," he wrote. "Unfortunately, you have not been given the facts by any means." He later launched a website titled Queensryche 2021 containing a demo of a new song.
See Scott Rockenfield's Statement on Queensryche Ouster