A former member of The Commodores has been sued for improperly using the band's name.

According to TMZThomas McClary -- who quit in 1982 (not long after Lionel Richie's departure) -- is now billing his group as The Commodores featuring Thomas McClary.

The original group, now fronted by J.D. Nicholas, and containing several orignal members, continues to perform.  So does Lionel Richie, as a solo artist.

Raising the animosity level even more, McClary is accused of sending a letter to The Commodores telling them to stop disparaging him at theaters where he's been booked.

The Commodores released "Night Shift" as a tribute to the late Marvin Gaye in 1985.  Here it is from iHeartRadio: