The Journal Gazette
Friday, April 12, 2019 1:00 am

Journey guitarist ignoring requests

Judge threatens to toss local suit

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Lawyers for Memorial Coliseum have been trying for months to interview Journey guitarist Neal Schon and his wife, Michaele, who are suing the venue, a security company and a security guard accused of assaulting the woman at a concert in 2017.

No luck so far, according to court documents filed in Allen Superior Court.

Instead, the couple have responded to attorneys' requests to sit for depositions with emailed threats to take the case and video of the alleged assault to the media.

“Hate to rattle you but I don't think we will need to do any depos – when you see all my evidence We will take it straight to media soon,” a message sent Feb. 26 from Neal Schon's Gmail account states. “Have a nice day. You are messing with the wrong person.”

The video, attached to a news release issued March 29 by Neal Schon, shows a blonde woman – presumably Michaele Schon – near a security guard. She's there for a few seconds and then is seen moving away from him and the stage where the band is playing.

In a statement, Neal Schon claims 20 seconds were edited from the video.

Court documents also include rambling email messages from Michaele Schon, who mentions a “lesion to my brain from the trauma from the attack on me” and accuses lawyer Kevin Fitzharris of harassing her husband a day before Neal Schon's Feb. 27 birthday.

Fitzharris of local firm Barrett McNagny LLP sent at least three letters – the first in August – to secure dates for the Schons' depositions and to resolve a “discovery dispute,” a motion filed last week shows.

Allen Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay has ordered the couple to respond by April 30 with dates they are available and be interviewed by June 30. The case could be dismissed if they do not answer, Bobay wrote, and court records show the Schons have not responded.

They also don't have a lawyer, according to the records. South Bend attorney Franklin Julian withdrew from the case in December, and no other lawyer has filed paperwork to represent the Schons.

Emails to Neal and Michaele Schon from The Journal Gazette were not returned, as of late Thursday afternoon.

They filed the lawsuit in August 2017, four months after Journey performed at the Coliseum. It names the building, ESG Security Inc. and guard Mike Frantz as defendants.

Michaele Schon was trying to take pictures during the show, when Frantz “violently assaulted and forcibly removed” her, the documents allege.

“She has suffered the exacerbation of a pre-existing health condition and has suffered a great deal of pain and suffering as well as medical expense as a direct result of the assault and battery,” according to the five-page filing.

Bobay dismissed a punitive damage claim against the Coliseum last year. The lawsuit was also filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne but sent back to state court in September 2017.

Michaele Schon, then Michaele Salahi, sneaked into the White House in 2009 with then-husband Tareq Salahi and crashed a state dinner. She was on “Real Housewives of D.C.” in 2010 and also appeared on the reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”

She married Neal Schon in 2013, and the couple have generated headlines by tussling with a British newspaper over false claims the musician financially abandoned his ex-wife and children. The Daily Mail apologized in 2013 and retracted a story based on the claims.

The city of San Francisco agreed to pay Neal Schon $290,000 after he filed a lawsuit alleging costs to rent the Palace of Fine Arts grew from $60,000 to more than $240,000 when he announced plans to hold his wedding there, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The settlement and the Daily Mail's apologies each are referenced in emails to the local lawyer.

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