Tom Petty’s daughters filed suit against his widow on Wednesday, as a struggle continues for control of the late singer-songwriter’s catalog.
Adria Petty and Annakim Violette allege that their father’s wife, Dana York Petty, has deprived them of their rightful role in determining how Petty’s works are released. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks at least $5 million in damages.
Petty died in October 2017 of an accidental drug overdose, leaving his widow as the trustee of his trust. The terms of the trust entitle the daughters to “equal participation” in decisions about how Petty’s catalog is exploited. The daughters have interpreted that to mean that they get two votes out of three, giving them majority control.
Dana Petty filed a petition in probate court in April, seeking to put Petty’s catalog in the hands of a professional manager. She argued that Adria Petty had been erratic and abusive, and had made it difficult to conduct business in an orderly way. Adria Petty filed a separate probate petition in an effort to claim control of the estate.
The new lawsuit, filed by attorney Alex Weingarten, accuses Dana Petty of usurping the estate’s assets at the daughters’ expense.
Adam Streisand, Dana Petty’s attorney, issued a statement calling the suit “destructive nonsense.”
“This misguided and meritless lawsuit sadly demonstrates exactly why Tom Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate,” he said. “Dana will not allow destructive nonsense like this to distract her from protecting her husband’s legacy.”
Since Tom Petty’s death, two compilations have been released, “An American Treasure” and “The Best of Everything” — both of which involved a good deal of conflict between Petty’s widow and daughters, over content, release dates, credits and liner notes. In her probate petition, Dana Petty said Adria had interfered with plans to release a third album, “Wildflowers — All the Rest,” which would include outtakes from the original album and coincide with the original’s 25th anniversary.