LONDON – The longtime bass player for Bob Marley's group The Wailers lost his lawsuit Monday seeking a share of the late reggae legend's royalties.
Aston "Family Man" Barrett was seeking the equivalent of up to $115 million he claimed he was owed since Marley died in 1981 without making a will.
Justice Kim Lewison agreed with arguments by the Island-Universal record label and the Marley family that Barrett surrendered his rights to any further royalties from Wailer recordings in a 1994 settlement in exchange for $500,000.
Lewison made an order barring Barrett, 59, from taking any further action without the court's permission. Barrett, who sued on behalf of himself and his late brother, Carlton, the band's drummer, now faces a bill for legal costs estimated at nearly $3.8 million.
"We always felt that this would be the outcome and it was hard to listen to Aston Barrett reduce his friend Bob to someone who was more interested in playing football than making music," the Marley family said in a statement issued after the judgment was announced.
The Barrett brothers recorded with Marley from 1969 until his death 12 years later. Aston Barrett co-wrote the song, "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)," and co-produced 11 albums with Marley.
Lewison said Aston Barrett had the "greatest difficulty" in answering questions about business dealings, and his testimony was not reliable.
"He was plainly close to Bob Marley himself, whom he trusted implicitly," the judge said.
"At this remove of time, his recollection of events was hazy; and I also consider that, as often happens, he has reconstructed events in his mind according to how he would like them to have been."