Joey Ramone's Brother Slams 'Flimsy' Case from Johnny's Widow over Ramones Biopic

Mickey Leigh claims that Linda Ramone approved the development of the Pete Davidson film in writing, which she's suing to stop from moving forward

<p>Michael Ochs Archives/Getty</p> From left: Tommy, Dee Dee, Johnny and Joey Ramone circa 1976.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

From left: Tommy, Dee Dee, Johnny and Joey Ramone circa 1976.

Joey Ramone's brother Mickey Leigh has filed a countersuit against Johnny Ramone's widow over a future Netflix biopic about The Ramones, arguing that the case is "baseless and flimsy."

In January, Johnny's wife Linda Cummings-Ramone filed a lawsuit against Leigh (born Mitchel Hyman) and obtained by PEOPLE, alleging he had “covertly” developed an “unauthorized” biopic, believed to be helmed by Netflix and starring Pete Davidson as Joey.

She also claimed that she would need to sign-off on any “authoritative story of the Ramones."

“Ms. Ramone objects to defendants’ attempt to create a Ramones film without her involvement — not to be obstinate, but rather based on defendants’ disregard for [Ramones] assets and their conduct and treatment of Ms. Ramone and her late husband,” Cummings-Ramone's attorneys wrote in the lawsuit. “To permit defendants alone to tell the authoritative story of the Ramones would be an injustice to the band and its legacy.”

Related: Punk Rock Legend Johnny Ramone Dies at 55

In a filing on March 15 obtained by PEOPLE, Leigh’s attorneys argued that Cummings-Ramone had approved of a movie based on Leigh's 2009 memoir — I Slept with Joey Ramone — back in 2006, writing and that this “baseless” lawsuit was an attempt to “install herself as the Queen of the Ramones.”

“Ms. Cummings-Ramone did consent to Defendants’ development and production of a motion picture,” they wrote.

Leigh's attorneys added: “Ms. Cummings-Ramone’s main purpose is to embarrass, harass, and destroy the integrity of Mr. Hyman, create an utterly false narrative about him, rewrite her role in the history of the Ramones, and win a popularity contest in which, in her mind, she takes over … the legacy of a band of which she never was a member and had nothing to do with creatively."

Attorneys for each did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

A copy of the alleged 2006 agreement appears to show that Ramones Productions signed off on the production rights of the then-unpublished memoir to a company called Rosegarten Films.

In a statement to Billboard, Leigh said, “The fact is, I did not write I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Punk Rock Family Memoir about my brother’s band and had no intention whatsoever of doing that. I wrote a story about growing up with a big brother who endured a severe somatic malady at birth, and later developed neurogenic problems. That led to doctors making diagnoses that he would never be able to function on his own in society — and that big brother, with support from his family, proved those doctors wrong as he went on to do great things with his life and become an inspiration to millions.”

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<p>Paul Natkin/Getty</p> From left: Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Marky Ramone in Chicago in May 1980

Paul Natkin/Getty

From left: Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Marky Ramone in Chicago in May 1980

Related: Blink-182 Pays Homage to Punk Icons The Ramones in New 'Dance with Me' Music Video

In Leigh's counterclaims, he argues that Cummings-Ramone violated their partnership agreement with a “pattern of egregious conduct.”

The two are executors of Joey and Johnny’s respective estates, and each own half of Ramones Productions Inc., which controls the pioneering punk band's music and other assets.

However, they've had a rocky partnership over the last decade that's led to many lawsuits.

Their latest legal battle was prompted in part by Netflix's plans to adapt Leigh's memoir I Slept with Joey Ramone, which was announced in April 2021. In her January lawsuit, Linda claimed that the project would need approval from Ramones Productions and not just Joey’s estate.

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