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Dimebag Darrell Abbott

The Estate Of Dimebag Darrell Abbott Files Suit Against Dean Guitars, Statements Issued By Both Parties


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Yesterday, August 16th saw the estate of the late Pantera, etc. guitar great “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott announce that they had filed suit against Dean Guitars. Dimebag and Dean Guitars had entered into an endorsement agreement prior to his untimely passing in 2004 that saw the creation of several Dimebag-branded guitars and more.

Dimebag‘s estate is headed up by Rita Haney, who was Abbott‘s longtime girlfriend and also served as his personal assistant. Haney was instated as the steward of Darrell Abbott‘s affairs in June of 2020. Upon being granted her new role, Haney became unhappy after discovering the terms laid out regarding a previously established endorsement deal with Dean Guitars.

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Abbott‘s estate (with Dimebag‘s brother Vinnie Paul Abbott as administrator) had reinstated that original endorsement agreement with Dean Guitars in April of 2014 with new terms that Haney alleges were less favorable than that of the original agreement.

In the official complaint, it is alleged that the reinstated endorsement deal had put restrictions on lump sum payments for images of Dimebag that also included the Dean Guitar headstock or trademarks. It is alleged that Dean Guitars did not fully honor this term.

It is also alleged that Dean further reduced royalty rates and more via that reinstated agreement. The complaint also stated that Dean allegedly failed to provide imported and domestic models of each of the Abbott endorsed guitars to the estate for personal and promotional use.

According to the complaint, the reinstated endorsement agreement expired on April 30th, 2020 with a six-month sell off grace period having concluded on October 30th, 2020. The complaint says that Haney and Dean Guitars engaged in negotiations to revise the endorsement, but were unable to agree to terms to do so.

However, despite the end of that agreement, it is alleged that Dean Guitars have continued to sell guitars, pickups and more bearing Abbott‘s name and likeness as recent as July of this year.

The complaint goes on to allege that Haney uncovered evidence of Dean Guitars “failing to pay and perform certain obligations under the Endorsement Agreement” and that “Dean Guitars converted certain of Dime‘s assets as its own through the use of its affiliate and co-Defendant Concordia.”

Haney and the estate are claiming Dean Guitars have been guilty of breach of a written agreement for their alleged failure to to honor several of the terms found in the endorsement agreements. She is seeking damages to be determined by the court via jury trial.

Further claims made by Haney and the estate against Dean Guitars include unfair competition, false endorsement, false association, false designation of origin, a violation of Florida’s unfair and deceptive trade practices act, fraud and more.

Haney provided a copy of her full complaint via dimebagdarrell.com. Her statement on the matter reads as follows:

“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 at www.dimebagdarrell.com. 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!”

Dean Guitars CEO & President Evan Rubinson has since issued the following response to the lawsuit:

“We have always treated Dime and his brother Vinnie with the utmost respect and loyalty. We have enjoyed a long-standing, 17-year relationship with Dime and Vinnie, and continue that relationship with Vinnie’s estate on the ddrum side. We are shocked and saddened to see the actions that Ms. Haney has taken after both the Abbott brothers have tragically passed away, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.

However, it is unfortunate that Ms. Haney has allowed her unrealistic demands and accusations to dictate the future of the Dimebag Darrell legacy in the absence of Dime’s immediate family. Dean Guitars is proud to have played a role in ensuring Dime’s legacy not only survived, but thrived over the past 17 years. We have stood by the estate through good and bad. Ms. Haney’s claims — across the board — are baseless, without any merit, and not grounded in reality. We will allow the full truth to come out as the legal process takes its course.”

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