Lindsey Buckingham has leveled a lawsuit against his former Fleetwood Mac bandmates following his sudden dismissal from the legendary group in early 2018. In the suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by PEOPLE, the guitarist accused his ex band of seven offenses, including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
In the suit, Buckingham, 69, claims that he had signed on for a 2-year run of 60 shows with Fleetwood Mac, for a fee of $14 million. However, he says he requested that they postpone their 2018 dates three months to allow him to tour with his solo band; a request that was apparently refused. Buckingham goes on to say that he rescheduled his solo trek, only to be notified of his termination from the group shortly before the tour announcement. His spot would ultimately be filled by Mike Campbell — formerly of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers — and Neil Finn.
“Fleetwood Mac strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr. Buckingham’s complaint and looks forward to their day in court,” the band’s publicist Kristen Foster said in a statement to PEOPLE. “The band has retained Dan Petrocelli to handle the case.”
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According to a recent profile in Rolling Stone, Buckingham, who joined the group in 1974 with then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks, was notified of the dismissal by the band’s longtime manager, Irving Azoff, on Jan. 28 — while he was watching the Grammys telecast. “I don’t think there was ever anything that was just cause to be fired,” Buckingham told the outlet. “We have all done things that were not constructive. All of us have worn on each other’s psyches at times. That’s the history of the group.”
Just two days before the ousting, Fleetwood Mac had been honored at a MusiCares benefit show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, where they performed.
The complaint outlines the damage, financial and otherwise, alleged by the composer of classics like “Go Your Own Way,” “Can’t Go Back,” and many others. “By excluding Buckingham from participating in the 2018-2019 Fleetwood Mac tour in breach of their fiduciary duties of loyalty and good faith and fair dealing the Defendants intentionally acted to interfere with Buckingham’s relationship with Live Nation and the prospective economic benefit he was to receive as a result of his participation in the tour.”
Also included in the complaint is a copy of an email sent on Feb. 28, in which Buckingham attempts to reestablish lines of communication with his estranged musical colleagues.
“In the month since MusiCares I’ve tried to speak to both you and Stevie, to no avail,” he writes in part. “I’ve only gotten radio silence this whole time. I haven’t tried Chris [McVie] I thought she might be feeling a bit fragile. I even e-mailed John, who responded that he couldn’t have contact with me … All of this breaks my heart.”
He ends the emotional message with a sentimental note. “At the moment, the band’s heart and soul has been diminished. But our center, which had seen us through so much, is only laying dormant. At the end of the day, legality will be reduced to being virtually meaningless, and humanity will count for almost everything If there is a way to work this through, I believe we must try. I love you all no matter what.”