All That Remains Sue Oli Herbert’s Widow Over Alleged Royalty Payment Holdup
All That Remains, the long-running Massachusetts-based metalcore band led by vocalist Phil Labonte, have said that Elizabeth blocked royalty payments to the group. They also said she made overly broad ownership claims to some of their songs.
It's the latest development in the ongoing monetary disputes between All That Remains and Elizabeth that have followed Oli's death. The guitarist, aged 44, was found drowned to death in a pond near the couple's home in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, in October 2018. But the manner of drowning was left "undetermined," and police treated the death as "suspicious."
Last week (Jan. 6), All That Remains filed the lawsuit against Elizabeth in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. It alleges Elizabeth "has made various claims" against All That Remains members "including alleging that [they] were stealing from her and using her late husband's recordings without permission, disparaged [them] on social media, threatened to report the band to various federal, state and local authorities, claimed the band had committed crimes, threatened to sue the band in multiple jurisdictions, and falsely claimed that she had sued the band."
It all apparently goes back to an August 2021 Facebook post made by Elizabeth, wherein she asserted that she was "a co-owner of the band's 'entire catalog'." She also claimed ownership of some of the band's songwriting publishing shares, which has subsequently thrown a wrench into royalty payouts for the band, per Blabbermouth.
The lawsuit claims that in 2022, "Herbert publicly posted about her desire to assert claims against Concord Music" — All That Remains' publishing company — "and crowdsourced suggestions for 'what state agency' to complain to about 'the record company [that] is holding $$S owed to the Estate.'"
As such, Concord have had to hold back some royalty payments from All That Remains until the dispute is resolved. To make things more complicated, All That Remains assert that Elizabeth now refuses to sign a letter of direction to Concord to clarify the matter.
Due to ALL THAT REMAINS' dispute with Elizabeth Herbert and the Oli Herbert estate, Concord Music "initially advised Plaintiffs that it refused to pay the Band any royalties until such time as the dispute is resolved," according to the lawsuit. "Concord Music ultimately agreed, as an accommodation, to pay the royalties due for the period ending December 31, 2021 to the Band, provided that the Band agreed to hold Oli's percentage interest in such monies in escrow. In early October 2022, the Band received another royalty statement from Concord Music for the semi-annual accounting period ending June 30, 2022, but did not initially receive payment of any royalties despite such statement reflecting that royalties were due," the lawsuit continues. "After some discussion, Concord Music again agreed, as an accommodation, to pay the royalties due for the period ending June 30, 2022 to the Band provided the Band agreed to hold Oli's percentage interest in such monies in escrow. However, notwithstanding these 'accommodations,' Concord Music has advised Plaintiffs' representatives that Concord will not release any further royalties (including the anticipated royalties to be paid to the Band for the period ending December 31, 2022) due to the Band members — not just Oli's share of such royalties — until such time as Concord Music receives a letter of direction signed by the Estate and the Band with respect to payment instructions for Oli's share of the Recordings and Compositions."
Labonte, Martin and Costa go on to say that they "have held, and continue to hold, Oli's share of the Band's royalties for the periods ending December 31, 2021 and June 30, 2022 in escrow and are ready, able and willing to pay such monies to the Estate. Given the circumstances, and to provide the Estate greater security that it would be paid timely and accurately, Plaintiffs have sought to arrange for Defendants to receive direct payment of Oli's royalties from Concord Music, rather than having the money flow through the Band's accounts and have the Band account to the Estate. In order to effectuate direct payment of Oli's royalties to the Estate, and as is customary in the music industry, on or about May 24, 2022, the Band asked Ms. Herbert to execute a letter of direction to Concord Music effective as of April 25, 2022 identifying Ms. Herbert and/or the Estate as the new payee for Oli's share of the Band's record royalties and music publishing royalties from the Recordings and Compositions, respectively. Ms. Herbert refused to sign the proposed letter of direction." Elizabeth Herbert advised Labonte, Martin and Costa that "she would not sign the proposed revised letter of direction and stated that she 'cannot in good faith sign anything presented to me without a judge overseeing the process,'" the lawsuit claims. "Ms. Herbert also published a post on Facebook on October 14 confirming that she had sent an email to the Band's attorney 'telling him never to contact me again or ask for my signature on a document' and indicating that she 'will NEVER sign anything.'"
According to the Hartford Courant, some of the suspicion surrounding Herbert's death arose because the musician's will was notarized at a car dealership a week before he was found dead. Last year, Elizabeth told the Daily Mail, "I absolutely did not kill my husband."