Victory's countersuit, filed on Friday, accuses the band of breach of contract and libel against the label for a lengthy "manifesto" that Hawthorne Heights posted on their Web site. The post slammed the label's alleged promotion tactics and accused it of "severely" damaging the band's reputation and relationship with its fans. The counterclaim explained:
The case filed by the plaintiffs in this action is really about greed, despite the unfounded and spurious laundry list of allegations made concerning Victory Records ... and its founder and owner, Anthony Brummel, who are responsible for putting the group on the map, The plaintiffs are now willing to say anything -- no matter how untrue or defamatory -- as a strategy designed to free themselves from their legal obligations to the independent record label that made them famous, in favor of the 'greener pastures' and financial inducements offered by so-called 'major' record distribution companies. Unfortunately, it is a common story in the music business."
Further to that, the label has apparently filed cease-and-desist orders against Virgin Records and its parent company, EMI, concerning their discussions with Hawthorne Heights.
The suit describes the band as one that "dogged" Brummel for months with multiple demo tapes, e-mails and phone calls before being signed in 2003. It claims that the band has earned $4 million on concerts and merchandise independent of Victory since it signed with the label -- earnings the label did not share -- and that Hawthorne Heights have been actively seeking a major label recording contract, despite owing Victory two more albums.