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Billy Joel, ex-drummer settle royalty lawsuit

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billy Joel's longtime drummer has settled a lawsuit accusing his former boss of depriving him of royalties from many of his biggest albums, the singer's lawyer said on Wednesday.

Liberty DeVitto was Joel's principal drummer from 1975 to 2005, performing on such albums as "The Stranger," "52nd Street," "Glass Houses" and "Storm Front," as well as in Joel's touring band.

In his May 2009 lawsuit, DeVitto alleged that Joel breached agreements to pay him unspecified royalties based on sales of 11 albums that were recorded between 1975 and 1990, and which collectively sold more than 100 million units worldwide.

Joel's recording company, Sony Music Entertainment Inc, was also named as a defendant.

"The case has been amicably resolved," said Paul LiCalsi, a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP in New York, who represents Joel. He declined to discuss settlement terms.

DeVitto's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

A notation that the lawsuit has been dropped appears on the docket of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The case is DeVitto v. Joel et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 107122/2009.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Richard Chang)