Dueling lawsuits involving Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose and his former manager began on a sour note, so a judge said today she may appoint a third party help them.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rita Miller blamed attorneys for Rose and Irving Azoff for problems during a recent deposition that Azoff's attorneys suspended before it was over.
Rose's lawyer, Sasha Frid, said the questions he asked got Azoff so upset that the manager threw a copy of the Wall Street Journal at the attorney.
Azoff's counsel, Steve Rothschild, said he was present at the deposition and denies that happened.
"It sounds like you guys are going to be in a knockdown, dragged out war," Miller said. "If both sides take extreme positions, it ends up costing both sides a ton of money."
Miller said she will wait and see if the lawyers can resolve their differences before she appoints a referee, a move supported by Azoff's legal team, but opposed by Rose's lawyers as too costly.
"You guys can try and fix this thing before it becomes a nightmare for all concerned," Miller said.
Azoff sued Rose March 25, claiming the musician owes his company, Front Line Management, more than $1.8 million and broke a verbal agreement to pay the company a 15 percent commission for performances by the band in Taipei, Seoul, Japan, Canada and South America.
Axl countersued May 17, claiming the manager tried to force him to reunite with the original Guns N' Roses band members and failed to properly promote the band's "Chinese Democracy" CD. The suit also claims Azoff lied about a prospective Van Halen super tour and mishandled the band's tour dates.
The countersuit refers to the U.S. Justice Department's recent antitrust lawsuit that sought to stop Ticketmaster and Live Nation from merging over concerns the new entity would have too much control over artists and venues. Afterwards, Ticketmaster entered into a consent decree with government regulators that allowed the merger to go forward under certain operating provisions.
Rothschild said Azoff's deposition was suspended after Frid began asking the manager questions about his role as chairman of Ticketmaster and Live Nation after the 2008 merger of the companies and Ticketmaster's acquisition of a majority share of Front Line.
Rothschild said the questions were not relevant, were designed to harass his client and that the final straw was when Frid gave a copy of the Wall Street Journal to Azoff and asked him about his stature in the music industry.
But Frid said the inquiries were an attempt to probe whether Azoff has any conflicts of interest in promoting tours while also managing artists.
Miller set trial for April 26.
Thanks for the report to Hairbandrock.