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Hall and Oates in a legal feud over a business deal

The pop duo Hall and Oates, known for their hit songs in the 1980s, are embroiled in a legal dispute over a joint business venture. Daryl Hall, the lead singer of the group, has filed a lawsuit against John Oates and his trust, accusing them of breaching their business agreement by trying to sell their share of the venture to a third party. Hall also obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent the sale until the case is resolved by an arbitrator or a judge.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on November 8, 2023, claims that Hall and Oates entered into a business agreement in 1985 to form a company called Whole Oats Enterprises, which owns and manages the duo’s intellectual property rights, including their music catalog, trademarks, and merchandising. The agreement stipulates that neither party can sell, transfer, or assign their interest in the company without the consent of the other party, and that any dispute arising from the agreement must be settled by arbitration.

According to the lawsuit, Oates and his trust notified Hall on October 29, 2023, that they had entered into a deal to sell their 50% interest in Whole Oats Enterprises to a company called Primary Wave Music IP Fund 2, LLC, for an undisclosed amount. Hall alleges that this deal violates the terms of their business agreement, and that he never consented to the sale. Hall also claims that the sale would cause him irreparable harm, as he would lose control over his own intellectual property rights and be forced to work with an unknown third party.

Hall is seeking a declaratory judgment that the sale is invalid and unenforceable, and an injunction to stop Oates and his trust from completing the sale. He is also asking for damages, attorney fees, and costs. The court granted Hall a temporary restraining order on November 9, 2023, which prohibits Oates and his trust from selling, transferring, or assigning their interest in Whole Oats Enterprises to any third party, pending a hearing on December 6, 2023.

The details of the dispute were initially sealed by the court but were partially revealed on November 22, 2023, after a motion by the media outlets The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Billboard to unseal the records. The court agreed to unseal some of the documents but kept others confidential to protect the privacy and business interests of the parties. Neither Hall nor Oates have publicly commented on the legal matter. The duo, who formed in the 1970s and have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, are still scheduled to perform together in a series of concerts in 2024.

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