A lawsuit involving a contract dispute between the former lead singer of Steely Dan and the rest of the band was filed in Los Angeles on Feb. 28. According to reports, David Palmer is claiming that the band owes him payments for royalties earned through streaming and satellite services. Palmer was one of the founding members of Steely Dan and is reportedly contractually entitled to one-sixth of the royalties from songs that he performed on.
Palmer sang on a total of five songs on the band's 1972 debut, including "Dirty Work" and "Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)." He was also the lead singer for the band's concerts and sang background vocals on the band's 1974 album "Countdown to Ecstasy." He was reportedly let go from the band in 1973 for performing while under the influence of alcohol and his ability to interpret the songs.
Palmer did reportedly get an $8,000 payment covering a nine-month period that ended on March 31, 2013, but the suit accuses the other band members of not paying him his share of the royalties from 2000 to mid-2012. According to reports, the complaint is specifically citing "breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, money had and received, and accounting."
The exact terms of the contract are crucial in any kind of business litigation that involves breach of contract claims, and this case is likely to be no different. This is one reason why it is important to ensure that all parties have a thorough understanding of the agreement before signing, especially when the contract involves financial obligations and payouts.
Source: Ultimate Classic Rock, "Steely Dan sued by original singer David Palmer over royalties" Dave Lifton, Mar. 01, 2014