The estate of Jimi Hendrix is bringing a preemptive lawsuit against those of the guitarist’s former bandmates Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Noel Redding (bass). In a suit filed on Tuesday and reported by Rolling Stone, Experience Hendrix, LLC responds to a claim to royalties by the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s rhythm sections’ heirs.

Dorothy Webber, the lawyer representing Experience Hendrix and Sony Music Group, filed the suit on Tuesday in the Southern District of New York. The suit responds to a letter sent to Sony Music back in December by British lawyer Lawrence Abramson. In his letter, Abramson claimed the label owed Mitchell and Redding performance royalties for nearly three billion streams. Though he did not give an exact figure, he said “such streaming figures and sales is estimated to be in the millions of pounds.”

“Ignoring this letter may lead our clients to commence proceedings against you and may increase your liability for costs,” Abramson added.

This prompted action on the side of Experience Hendrix and Sony, who claim Mitchell and Redding’s estates are unable to file suit. Weber claims that in September 1974, Mitchell signed a document releasing the Hendrix estate from legal claims and agreeing not to sue. She also claims that Redding signed a similar document in April 1973. The musicians were allegedly compensated for signing the releases.

Both Mitchell and Redding’s estates claim that they are no longer bound by those documents, whereas Weber and the Hendrix estate disagrees. Weber is asking a federal judge to issue a declaratory judgment saying those releases are still valid.

“Any claim of ownership by the Defendants was time barred decades ago,” Weber wrote in her filing.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience broke up in June 1969 after Redding quit. Mitchell went on to perform off and on with Jimi until the latter’s death on September 18th, 1970. Hendrix left his estate to his father, James Allen “Al” Hendrix, who in 1995 established Experience Hendrix, LLC. Jimi’s father ran the company alongside his daughter, Janie, until his death in 2003.

Redding, who died in May 2003, left his estate to his partner, Deborah McNaughton, who in turn bequeathed it to her sisters when she died. Mitchell passed away in November 2008, leaving his daughter, Aysha, to inherit his estate. Both Redding and Mitchell’s heirs entered into contracts with new estate managers in August 2021.

The lawyer representing the rhythm section claims that “both died in relative poverty having never received their true entitlement from their works, performances, and founding membership of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.” Meanwhile, Webber states that the two musicians collaborated with Experience Hendrix on multiple projects over the years and that “neither Redding nor Mitchell ever asserted an ownership interest, or any other performers’ rights, in the Recordings.”

Neither Weber nor Abramson immediately responded to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.

[H/T Rolling Stone]