SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Squabbling between surviving members of the 1960s rock band The Doors is serious enough that a lawsuit over an insurance policy covering “advertising injury” should proceed, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
The band tried to carry on after its lead singer, Jim Morrison, died in 1971, but eventually split up. In recent years drummer John Densmore has waged a legal fight against guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek over their touring as “The Doors of the 21st Century.” A judge eventually told them to stop using that name.
According to court papers, the Densmore lawsuit cost Manzarek and Doors Touring, Inc. more than $3 million in legal fees. Amid that fight, Manzarek filed an insurance claim.
Manzarek, who played distinctive organ riffs on such hits as “Light My Fire,” took out a commercial liability insurance policy in 2002 to 2003 from St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company.
That policy included protection against advertising injury, which refers to losses from things such as slander, libel and privacy infringement.
Manzarek notified the insurance firm of Densmore’s suit in 2003, but the firm declined to provide insurance coverage. The keyboardist, who lives north of San Francisco, sued for breach of contract and in 2006 a district court dismissed the case.
On Tuesday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that decision, saying the lower court should review Manzarek’s complaint.
Reporting by Adam Tanner, editing by Patricia Zengerle