The trustee of Dimebag Darrell‘s estate has filed a lawsuit against Dean Guitars and ended their partnership.
Dimebag Darrell co-founded the heavy metal band Pantera with his brother Vinnie Paul in 1981. When Pantera disbanded in 2003, the pair formed the band Damageplan. Sadly, a psychotic fan shot and killed the successful guitarist during a performance on December 8, 2004.
Back in 1982, Darrell won a maroon Dean ML at a guitar contest. That instrument became his signature guitar and was later named ‘Dean From Hell.’ In 1990 after releasing ‘Cowboys From Hell,’ Darrell signed an endorsement deal with Dean Guitars. In 2004, he became the main endorsee of the company. Before his death, Darrell designed Dean Guitars’ Dean Razorback and Razorback V. The replicas of his Dean From Hell were also sold posthumously.
In a recent Instagram post, Dimebag Darrell’s trustee and longtime girlfriend Rita Haney announced the news of a legal dispute. In the announcement, she stated that the partnership between Dean Guitars and Dimebag Darrell is over. Haney then added they filed a lawsuit against Dean Guitars to keep celebrating Darrell’s legacy the way he deserves.
Moreover, Haney pointed out that Darrell was very proud of the partnership since he signed the deal with Dean Guitars in 2004. According to Hanney, to end the partnership was a hard decision, but a much-needed one as they stopped respecting his legacy in the way he deserves.
The announcement in the Instagram post read:
“After much consideration, it is with great sadness that I announce the longstanding relationship between Dimebag and Dean Guitars is over. Unfortunately, we were forced to file a lawsuit against Dean Guitars on Monday, August 16th, for the reason set forth in the complaint that may be viewed on Dimebag Darrell’s official website. It was necessary for us to end Dime’s endorsement of Dean Guitars to continue to honor and celebrate his legacy the way he deserves, and in the way he had laid it out.
We do not make this decision lightly and it is with a heavy heart that we share this news with you, Dime’s loyal fans. As you know, after signing the deal with Dean Guitars in 2004, Dime was ecstatic to finally be working with the one and only, Mr. Dean Zelinsky, who’s been gone from the company since 2008. Darrell had voiced several times that it was like going home where he belonged. It was something he was enormously proud of.
I have spent days, re-reading through all of Darrell’s guitar notes, lists, letters, and drawings (some not yet released). Knowing Darrell’s wishes and seeing them written down on paper, once again, after all these years solidifies that he would not have stayed. I want to see Dime’s words followed through and to have his legacy reach the level he intended.
I made several attempts to amicably settle our dispute with Dean Guitars. However, it became clear to me that Dimebag’s relationship with Dean Guitars had come to an end when the new CEO of Dean Guitars told me that Dime has been dead for 16 years and they could not make the money they once did (so basically, he’s used up?) and then continued on to tell me I should go somewhere else. Well… we will!
Moving forward, our goal will be to ensure the rightful and respectful celebration of Dime’s legacy and the indelible mark he and his music made on this world. It is with absolute conviction that we say that this can no longer happen whilst continuing to partner with Dean Guitars.
As fans, we hope that you feel as we do. Our love for Dime has not wavered in the 16 plus years since his passing and he is still as relevant to us today, despite what we have been told by Dean Guitars. We want to capture the ‘spirit of the deal’ that was discarded by Dean Guitars like it should have always been done. In this spirit, we soon hope to have more positive news to share with you regarding the future of ‘Dime guitars.’
Dime loved his fans so very much, in return, you guys have never wavered in your loyalty and love for him. We cannot thank you enough for your continued support.
Long live Dimebag Darrell! Getcha pull!”
In the lawsuit, Haney accused the company’s current CEO of disrespecting Darrell’s legacy and forgetting Darrell’s contributions to Dean Guitars. Moreover, she also claimed that Dean Guitars took advantage of Dimebag over the years. Haney also accused the company of breaching the endorsement agreement. She claimed that they never paid the contracted amount for products featuring Darrell or recognized his ownership.
According to the lawsuit, the complaints were:
“Ms. Haney found Evan Rubinson incredibly disrespectful and often times belligerent to the legacy of Abbott. He acted without regard for the success Abbott brought to his father’s company, and to which ultimately contributed to his inheritance.
Given the misdealings uncovered by Ms. Haney, she felt that Dean Guitars had taken complete advantage of Abbott over the years and refused to continue a business relationship with Dean Guitars unless Dean Guitars was willing to right its wrongs.
Defendant Dean Guitars has breached the Endorsement Agreement in that it: never paid the lump sum contracted amount for each full cover photo that has been printed with Abbott playing a Dean guitar, with the Dean Guitars’ logo and/or trademark prominently displayed; failed to provide the imported and domestic models for each line of Abbott endorsed guitars produced by Dean Guitars, and other guitars for personal and promotional use; fraudulently, in conjunction with Concordia and without the knowledge of Abbott, registered the trademark for Razorback and the Razorback guitar design, both of which were the sole property of Abbott, in Concordia’s name; in conjunction with Concordia, transferred the Razorback trademark, which was the sole property of Abbott, to a third party without the knowledge of Abbott; and in conjunction with Concordia, acquired the registered trade dress for the guitar design known as the Dime3 in its own name, without Abbott’s knowledge and without recognizing Abbott as a joint owner.”
You can see the photos posted by Dimebag Darrell’s official Instagram account below.