A judge has denied drummer Bobby Blotzer's request for reconsideration in connection with his legal dispute with the other three members of RATT's classic lineup over the rights to the band's name.
Back in November, a California judge ruled against Blotzer with respect to whether bassist Juan Croucier had committed trademark infringement by using the RATT name and logo to advertise his band RATT'S JUAN CROUCIER in the fall of 2015. The judge furthermore decided that the corporation WBS, Inc. — of which Blotzer and guitarist Warren DeMartini were thought to be the sole shareholders — did not have ownership interest in the RATT marks and that the name and brand was still owned by the members who were part of the original RATT partnership agreement.
In addition to claiming to have expelled Blotzer from the partnership following the November court ruling, DeMartini, Croucier and singer Stephen Pearcy said that Blotzer could now only refer to himself as a "former member of RATT," as per the partnership agreement.
Blotzer's attorney later filed a request for reconsideration, and a hearing was held on January 23 in a downtown Los Angeles federal courtroom at which point the judge took the matter under submission. Less than two weeks later — on Friday, February 3 — U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson issued an order denying Blotzer's request, writing in part: " Although WBS relied upon a letter purportedly expelling Croucier from the Partnership in early 1997, prior to the assignment, that letter was signed by, and referred to the unanimous vote and consent of, only Blotzer and Pearcy. The Partnership Agreement, however, required the unanimous consent of all partners, other than the partner being expelled. By [Blotzer's] own admission, DeMartini remained a member of the Partnership at all times. Blotzer and Pearcy could not, therefore, have expelled Croucier without DeMartini's consent, of which there was no evidence.
"In addition, Pearcy submitted a declaration stating that he never discussed Croucier's expulsion from the RATT Partnership with Blotzer, never understood Croucier to have been expelled, and had no recollection of seeing the 1997 expulsion letter prior to this litigation. Pearcy's declaration stated that the letter 'is not the product of any agreement I reached with Robert Blotzer or anyone else.'
"[Blotzer] did not file any written objection to the Pearcy declaration. Although [Blotzer's] counsel did, at oral argument, suggest that Pearcy lacked credibility, [Blotzer] submitted no evidence that conflicted with or contradicted Pearcy's statement. Indeed, as the court also noted, Blotzer himself took a position different than that advanced by WBS, stating in a deposition that Croucier voluntarily withdrew from the Partnership, not that the other members of the Partnership unanimously expelled Croucier. Now, on this motion for reconsideration, WBS argues that Croucier submitted evidence in bad faith and committed a fraud on this Court by intentionally ignoring proceedings in an earlier, 2002 state court action between Pearcy and WBS. WBS contends that this Court should have considered documents submitted in those proceedings, which, [Blotzer] asserts, establish that Croucier is collaterally estopped from challenging the validity of the assignment of the RATT marks to WBS.
"[Blotzer's] theory of fraud is not clear to the court. The 2002 judgment [Blotzer] submitted to the court does not discuss the composition of the RATT partnership and makes no mention of the 1997 assignment of the marks to WBS. [Blotzer] nevertheless argues that '[e]ven if the 2002 judgment did not specifically express that the transfer in 1997 was valid, the 2002 Judgment did reference and incorporated (sic) in the state court's ruling. As part of their Rule 11 obligations, Croucier's counsel had a duty . . . to investigate what the ruling and (sic) not present bad law to this Court.' It is not apparent, however, what 'bad law' [Croucier] is alleged to have presented."
The RATT version featuring Pearcy, DeMartini, Croucier and later-period RATT guitarist Carlos Cavazo (ex-QUIET RIOT) is scheduled to make its first official return to the stage on February 11 at the Treasure Island Resort Casino in Welch, Minnesota.
A completely different version of RATT — led by Blotzer and featuring a revolving door of members — has been hitting stages across the country since the fall of 2015.
Blotzer's most recent lineup of RATT included singer Josh Alan alongside guitarists Mitch Perry (TALAS, HEAVEN, STEELER, MSG, LITA FORD) and Stacey Blades (L.A. GUNS) and bassist Brad Lang (Y&T).
Before Blotzer began playing shows with his new version of RATT, he was touring with a project called BOBBY BLOTZER'S RATT EXPERIENCE which performed RATT songs. Stephen Doniger, the attorney representing Pearcy, Croucier and DeMartini in their dispute with Blotzer, told LA Weekly Blotzer changed the name of his project after he realized he could make ten times as much money touring as RATT — $2,500 to $4,900 a night as BOBBY BLOTZER'S RATT EXPERIENCE, versus $25,000 to $45,000 as RATT. The attorney also shot down as untrue the drummer's claim that the trio had no plans to tour again until Bobby resurrected the band with all new members and started playing shows in late 2015. "The guys [Pearcy, Croucier, DeMartini and Blotzer] toured together between 2012 and 2014," Doniger told LA Weekly. "They stopped because Stephen Pearcy's twin sister died and he had to take time off. At that point, DeMartini and Croucier decided not to tour without all partners for the integrity of the band. But within a year, Blotzer was taking steps to usurp control of the trademarks so that he could tour by himself as RATT."
He added: "There's a court order saying WBS has no trademark rights in the name. Thus, WBS has no right to authorize anyone to tour as RATT.
"Blotzer tried to pull a fast one and has now ended up with nothing."