Daryl Hall Describes "Divorce" from John Oates in New Court Filing: "The Ultimate Partnership Betrayal"

He calls his former songwriting partner's attempted legal manoeuvres an "ambush" and "betrayal"

BY Kaelen BellPublished Nov 30, 2023

Last week, the news dropped that Daryl Hall had taken out a restraining order against his longtime music and business partner John Oates, and it was later revealed that the order was related to Oates' plan to sell his stake in their shared business. Now, new legal filings have exposed the former hit-makers' severe beef.

As reported by Billboard, the new filings find Hall claiming he was "blindsided" by Oates' move to sell his share in Whole Oates Enterprises, LLP to Primary Wave. The music publisher had previously purchased a large stake in the Hall & Oates catalogue over a decade ago. 

UPDATE (11/30, 1:46 p.m. PT): Chancellor Russell Perkins, the judge overseeing the case, has temporarily blocked Oates from selling his stake in the joint venture with Hall to Primary Wave until February or an arbitrator can hear Hall's case — whichever comes first. [via Billboard].

Hall apparently learned about his former partner's plan in October, and he describes the move as an "ambush," a "betrayal" and a "completely clandestine and bad faith move in blatant violation" of their agreement, which he said requires full consent from both partners.

"John Oates and the Co-Trustees engaged in the ultimate partnership betrayal. They surreptitiously sought to sell half of the WOE assets without obtaining my written approval," Hall writes in the filing. He later adds that, "Respectfully, [Oates] must be stopped from this latest wrongdoing and his malicious conduct reined in once and for all."

Hall goes on to say that Oates' actions have caused "tremendous upheaval, harm, and difficulty in my life." He also accuses Oates of trying to "create the most harm to me" with the timing of his attempted sale. Hall describes Oates's most recent actions as being part of a large-scale "divorce," claiming that the rocker has been "adversarial and aggressive" in his attempts to "burden and harass me."

Later in the filing, Hall outlined his issues with Primary Wave, describing exactly why he has "no intention" of partnering with the business. 

The potential of being forced into a partnership with Primary Wave without my consent is incredibly upsetting. There is no amount of money that could compensate me for being forced to partner with an entity that I did not agree to partner with, and whose business model does not comport with my views regarding the WOE assets. The harm is unimaginable.

Primary Wave is a company that brands itself as having a strong focus on exploiting not only copyrights but the trademarks and name and likeness rights of the artists from whom they purchase catalogue rights. If Primary Wave becomes my partner they … will likely have a goal to use the WOE assets, and my name and likeness, for branding and exploitations.

The band's trademarks, personal names, likeness rights, record royalty income and "certain HO social media and related website assets" are all up for grabs in the sale. Hall & Oates' songwriting copyrights are owned by an entirely different company, Hot Cha Music, LLP, and aren't actually part of the potential sale.

In his own court filing responding to Hall's, Oates wrote that he is  "tremendously disappointed" in his former partner's "inflammatory, outlandish, and inaccurate statements about me." 

"I can only say that Daryl's accusations that I breached our agreement, went 'behind' his back, 'acted in bad faith,' and the like, are not true," he wrote. "I have no idea who or what is motivating Daryl to take these steps and make such salacious statements, but I am deeply hurt."

A court hearing is scheduled for today in Nashville.

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