Judge Dismisses Claims That Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine Cheated Early Beats Partner

Image courtesy of J. H.

After Beats Electronics and Music scored $3 billion when it became part of Apple, not everyone was happy. A former partner of Beats executives Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, for one, who sued the pair in 2015, claiming they’d swindled him out of money that should’ve been his. A judge has now dismissed key claims in the former partner’s lawsuit.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William Fahey issued a summary judgment that ties up the main part of the double-crossing case, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Noel Lee, founder of video and audio cable maker Monster, was an early partner of Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Iovine, holding a 5% stake in Beats as part of a partnership between his company and the headphone makers. He alleged in the lawsuit that his former pals worked out a “sham deal” with HTC in 2011 that effectively ended Monster’s alliance with the company, and Lee’s stake in Beats was cut to 1.25%.

He eventually sold off the rest for $5.5 million in late 2013, claiming in his lawsuit that Beats executives assured him that the company wouldn’t be sold in the immediate future — but then in May 2014, Beats announced that Apple was buying it for $3 billion.

His former 1.25% stake could’ve reaped more than $30 million, Lee’s suit claimed, and his original 5% would’ve netted about $150 million.

Judge Fahey found, however, that Beats’ actions were allowed under the contracts that Lee and Monster had entered into as sophisticated investors. He also dismissed Monster’s claims alleging misconduct by HTC America and a Beats investor and board member.

The case was scheduled to go to trial next week, but will now be limited to Beats’ efforts to force Monster to pay its attorney fees and other costs.

Apple declined to comment on the ruling, and Monster attorney did not respond to the LAT’s requests for comment.

Beats wins in case that accused Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine of double-crossing investor [Los Angeles Times]