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Tinsley reaches settlement in sexual harassment lawsuit
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Tinsley reaches settlement in sexual harassment lawsuit

Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band

Boyd Tinsley performed with Dave Matthews Band at Charlottesville's Scott Stadium on April 21, 2001.

A sexual harassment lawsuit against former Dave Matthews Band member Boyd Tinsley, filed last year by a West Coast musician, has been settled in U.S. District Court in Washington state, court records show.

Attorneys for both Tinsley and musician James Winn, a Seattle-based trumpet player who worked for Tinsley from 2015 to 2016 as a member of the band Crystal Garden, notified the federal court Monday that a settlement had been reached.

The attorneys asked the court for 45 days in which to finalize the settlement and make payments. No terms of the settlement were disclosed.

“We are pleased that the matter has been resolved,” said Winn’s attorney, Stephanie Henderson Stocker, of Olympia, Washington. “The terms of the agreement are private between the parties, and I thus cannot comment further.”

Tinsley’s attorney in Washington could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit, originally filed in Washington state court in May 2018, was moved to the federal court system in June 2018 at Tinsley’s behest, citing the fact that the action was between residents of different states and the amount of money involved likely would be more than $75,000.

The lawsuit had been slated for a 10-day trial to begin Sept. 4 if the two sides could not reach an agreement through a settlement conference held in May. The two sides extended court-set deadlines for discovery in order to continue settlement talks.

Winn, 29, was a street musician in San Francisco in 2007 when he met Tinsley, according to the original complaint filed in King County, Washington. Tinsley eventually hired Winn to play in Crystal Garden, a band formed by Tinsley.

The suit alleged that over a number of years, Winn was “catapulted by Tinsley into a world of luxury and living his lifelong dream of playing music worldwide.”

In Tinsley’s July 2018 response to the lawsuit, he denied “catapulting” Winn.

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“Tinsley lacks information or knowledge as to [Winn’s] dreams/perceptions and therefore denies the same,” the response states. “Tinsley denies that Crystal Garden played any shows worldwide and also denies [Winn] was an employee.”

The suit claimed Tinsley began sexually harassing Winn in 2015, flirting, making verbal sexual comments, physical touching and sexting, as well as “communicating to Winn that he provided ‘this life’ and ‘these things’ to Winn and that Winn ‘owed him.’”

The suit specifically alleged that Tinsley “required his employee to submit to unwelcome sexual conduct as a condition of receiving pay and/or tangible job benefits.”

The document also alleges that Tinsley retaliated against Winn after he complained and made it clear the sexual behavior was unwelcomed and needed to stop.

Tinsley’s response denied all of the allegations.

Three months before filing the complaint in 2018, attorneys for Winn sent Tinsley a demand letter, dated Feb. 2, 2018, seeking an out-of-court settlement. That same day, Tinsley announced on Twitter that he would be taking a break from the Dave Matthews Band.

“I need to take a break from the band & touring 2 focus on my family & my health 4 a while,” Tinsley tweeted that day. “I will miss you guys & my brothers in the band but I’m somewhat worn out & need 2 spend more time with my family & 2 bring more balance to my life.”

In a statement released shortly after the lawsuit became public knowledge in 2018, the Dave Matthews Band said its members were “shocked by these disturbing allegations and we were not previously aware of them.”

The Dave Matthews Band began to take shape in Charlottesville in the 1990s. Through the band’s Bama Works Fund, Tinsley and the rest of the band have given millions of dollars to charitable organizations locally over the years.

Tinsley graduated from Charlottesville High School and the University of Virginia.


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