Sports Litigation Case Law Update February 2015

This month’s sports litigation case law update demonstrates how sports can touch a broad variety of areas of law, from environmental challenges to medical malpractice to contract claims to constitutional due process.  The common thread this month – defendants went undefeated.   Sacramento’s Downtown Arena Project Withstands Challenge Under the California Environmental Quality Act  Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento, 2015 WL 708608 (Cal. Ct. of App., Feb. 18, 2015) The California state appellate court faced a challenge under the California Environmental Quality Act to…
Continue reading...

McIlroy Settles Management Dispute Out of Court

On Wednesday Morning, February 4, Rory McIlroy and his former management company Horizon Sports Management confirmed a settlement between the two parties, ending the multi-million dollar contract dispute that has dragged out for 2 years. Back in 2013, Rory McIlroy brought this lawsuit against his former management company claiming the 2011 contract he agreed to was signed under undue influence, informality, and without legal advice, making it invalid and unenforceable.  Horizon responded by claiming the golfer owes millions in unpaid fees and for breaching…
Continue reading...

Lil Wayne Seeks $51 Million from Cash Money Label

On Wednesday, January 28, long-time rapper Lil Wayne filed a lawsuit in NY federal court claiming his label, Cash Money Records, owes him $51 million. Lil Wayne signed with the label back in 1998 and has been happy with them until 4 years ago. In the past, Lil Wayne has looked to Cash Money head, Bryan “Birdman” Williams, as a type of father, however, the latest album delay seems to have finished off a deteriorating relationship.  Wayne took to Twitter last month, feeling like…
Continue reading...

Sports Litigation Case Law Update January 2015

In this month’s sports litigation case law update, we report on two decisions issued, coincidentally, on the same day this month, in which two different courts applied contract law in the college sports context. In Kent State University v. Gene A. Ford, 2015 WL 135032 (Ohio Ct. of App., Jan. 12, 2015), Kent State University commenced an action against Gene Ford and Bradley University, asserting that Mr. Ford, the former head coach of the men’s basketball team at Kent State, breached his contract with…
Continue reading...

The Problem of Earning Too Much Too Fast

It is not uncommon to hear about sports stars and entertainers going broke.  Often, with the influx of large sums of money, they are clueless how to handle and preserve it wisely.  This is especially true with younger athletes. Many athletes land multimillion dollar contracts at a young age, sometimes right out of high school.  At such a young age, these athletes have little to no financial experience.  Yet, suddenly they find themselves thrust into a situation requiring a significant amount of knowhow.  They have…
Continue reading...

Lady Gaga’s Former Producer to Pay Talent Scout $7.3M

US District Court in New Jersey ruled that Rob Fusari, Gaga’s former producer and business partner, must pay Wendy Starland, a woman who discovered Gaga, $7.3 million pursuant to their compensation agreement signed in 2005. The agreement required Starland to find “an artist under the age of 25 who could be the female equivalent to the lead singer of the Strokes.”  According to Starland, she attended about 50 live performances and conducted online search for an artist who was “edgy and bold.” After Starland…
Continue reading...

Punches After the Bell

Pacquiao’s Hoops Debut Highlights a Possible Grey Area as to Contractual Prohibitions on Dangerous Activities: Usually known for making headlines as one of the best professional boxers on the planet, Manny (Pac Man) Pacquiao instead made headlines after making his professional basketball debut a month before his November 23, 2014 decision victory of Chris Algieri for the WBO Welterweight Title.  On October 20, 2014, Pacquiao started for the KIA Sorrento team of the Philippine Basketball Association,  but only played for seven minutes before sitting…
Continue reading...

Bravo Sued for Conspiracy by Creators of “Real Housewives”

Last week, two original creators of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” sued their one-time partner and the television network, Bravo, for fraud, civil conspiracy, and breach of contract. The plaintiffs, Kevin Kaufman and Patrick Moses, claim to have developed the original idea for the first “Real Housewives” series with producer Scott Dunlop.    The three sold the show to Bravo in 2005 and created the production company, Ventana, in 2006 to produce the show.  The complaint alleges that after the show aired, Dunlop and…
Continue reading...

Jay Z: You Like It, You Own It

Often seen with his choice of drink, a glass of Armand de Brignac, Jay Z announced his purchase of the champagne brand for an undisclosed amount from Sovereign Brands, a New York-based wine and spirits company. Jay Z’s interest in the champagne has been well known.  When he and his wife Beyonce hosted a fund-raiser for President Obama in 2012, he included a tower of 350 bottles of Armand  de Brignac Champagne.  The champagne even featured in Jay Z’s 2006 music video for “Show Me…
Continue reading...

Pepsi: $2B “Aunt Jemima” Lawsuit Frivolous

Calling the suit frivolous, Pepsi and a subsidiary of Pepsi, Quaker Oats, asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.  The lawsuit was brought pro se in August this year by the great grandchildren of Anna Short Harrington, who appeared as Aunt Jemima.  The plaintiffs seek $2 billion in punitive damages for, among others, alleged violation of right of publicity, breach of contract, promissory fraud, and conspiracy. The lawsuit claimed that Nancy Green, the first Aunt Jemima, and Harrington formulated the self-rising pancake mix and…
Continue reading...