Boyd Tinsley Sued for Breaching Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Settlement

Former Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley faces a new lawsuit alleging that he breached the terms of a 2019 settlement stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit.

In 2018, musician James Frost-Winn — a former member of Tinsley’s band Crystal Garden — sued Tinsley, alleging that in November 2015, Tinsley “ejaculated next to Plaintiff Winn and touched Winn’s buttocks while Plaintiff Winn was sleeping.” 

According to the suit, following that incident, Tinsley texted Frost-Winn that he had “messed up,” was “confused on pills” and that it would never happen again. The suit included a series of sexually charged texts allegedly sent by Tinsley to Frost-Winn in 2016, where Tinsley allegedly discusses masturbating to photos and requests for specific shots to be taken for sexual purposes. Frost-Winn left Crystal Garden in August 2016.

Frost-Winn sued Tinsley in May 2018, with the two parties agreeing to a $837,000 settlement payment to Frost-Winn the following year. However, under the terms of the agreement, there was a “mutual non-disparagement” clause that prevented either party from discussing the matter publicly. In the new lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington State Superior Court and obtained by Rolling Stone, lawyers for Frost-Winn claim that Tinsley breached that clause on February 22, 2022 in a series of posts on social media.

“The accusation is a total lie,” Tinsley wrote on social media, according to screen grabs provided as evidence. “There is a pattern of me being victimized by mentally unstable and money-grabbing people. This latest individual that I am speaking of concocted this incredulous story of sexual harassment, which is a complete and total lie.”

While Tinsley didn’t mention Frost-Winn by name, he said that his accuser was “a very troubled and disturbed person” and “he had a field day spending my money… music went out the window and it was all about getting drunk and playing pinball.” (Defamation law does not require someone actually use a person’s name if that person can be otherwise identified another way.)

The lawsuit — in which Tinsley is being sued for breach of contract, defamation, false light, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress — was filed Wednesday to remain within Washington state’s two-year statute of limitations for defamation claims; Tinsley’s social media remarks were made on February 22, 2022.

As the lawsuit states, both sides attempted mediation following Tinsley’s alleged breach, but have thus far been unable to do so, resulting in the filing. The 2019 settlement agreed to a penalty of $25,000 for each breach of the non-disparagement clause; the new lawsuit points to 18 instances where Tinsley broke that clause in his February 2022 posts, for a total of $450,000.

“We are disappointed that filing this lawsuit against Mr. Tinsley was necessary, but our attempts at settlement for these claims have been futile,” Frost-Winn’s attorney, Stephanie Stocker, tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “Further, Mr. Tinsley and his attorney agreed earlier this year to send us additional information regarding Mr. Tinsley’s financial situation — we never received that information from Mr. Tinsley or his attorney.”

Stocker adds that she “is hopeful that a resolution of these claims can be reached between Mr. Tinsley and my client.”

Tinsley’s lawyer did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the new lawsuit. Following the initial allegations in 2018, Tinsley said he would “fight both in and out of court to repair the damage that has been done” by what he described as “false accusations.” “These accusations have caused embarrassment for my family, my friends and my fans,” he added.

Tinsley is best known for his affiliation with Dave Matthews Band, which he joined in 1992. The violinist appeared on every Dave Matthews Band album from 1994’s Under the Table and Dreaming through 2018’s Come Tomorrow. In February 2018 — prior to the accusations becoming public — he issued a statement saying, “I need to take a break from the band & touring 2 focus on my family & my health 4 a while. 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.”

Following the allegations, a rep for the group told Rolling Stone, “Though Boyd is no longer a member of the band, we are shocked by these disturbing allegations and we were not previously aware of them.” Matthews obliquely addressed Tinsley’s absence in an interview with Vulture in May 2018. “I have a deep love for Boyd, and he has to deal with his stuff,” Matthews said. “In many ways I’m sure it would’ve been a lot easier for him to just say, ‘I’m good. Let’s go play.’ But you can’t just throw yourself away, your wellness away, because you play violin in a band.

“I can’t say, ‘I can’t wait till he comes back,’ because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he added. “But right now being away is better for him. Nobody is happy about this situation. Except that we’re happy he can figure some stuff out. I hope he does. But I’m going to miss having that whirling-dervish Adonis-Muppet over there on my right. I know the audience is, too. But we can’t serve that desire.” 

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Earlier this month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Dave Matthews Band had been nominated for induction, with Tinsley joining Carter Beauford, Jeff Coffin, Stefan Lessard, Dave Matthews, Leroi Moore, Tim Reynolds and Rashawn Ross. Should the band get in, it is unclear if Tinsley would join the group in accepting the award or playing at the induction ceremony. A rep for the group did not immediately reply to a request for comment.


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