Deer Antler Spray Litigation Saga Continues
The latest development in the ongoing litigation dispute between the PGA Tour and Vijay Singh over the use of deer antler spray features another appeal. This time the appeal was brought by the PGA Tour, in New York State Supreme Court. On December 29, 2017, PGA Tour requested the court review Judge Eileen Bransten’s September 2017 ruling on a motion to in a lawsuit brought by former professional golfer Vijay Singh.
In May 2017, Judge Bransten granted part of the PGA Tour’s summary judgment motion, but refused to grant summary judgment on two of Vijay Singh’s “good faith and fair dealing” claims. The first claim alleged that the PGA Tour breached its obligations to Vijay Singh by failing to consult with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prior to suspending Vijay Singh. The second claim alleged that the PGA Tour made improper public statements concerning Vijay Singh’s use of the deer antler spray. In September 2017, the PGA Tour filed a “rearguemnt motion” to the portions of the May 2017 summary judgement motion that were denied. However, Judge Bransten denied the rearguemnt motion as well. On December 29, 2017, the PGA Tour filed an appeal to review Judge Bransten’s denial of the rearguemnt motion.
Vijay Singh’s suit was originally filed in May 2013, when Vijay Singh alleged that the PGA Tour unfairly suspended him for his admitted use of deer antler spray. While Vijay Singh was reinstated because the spray was not a substance banned by the WADA, Vijay Singh still brought suit against the PGA Tour and claiming that he faced “humiliation and ridicule” from the initial suspension. While we wait for the result of the appeal, it appears that the case is going to trial. Judge Bransten has already denied the part of the PGA Tour’s motion for summary judgment in and Judge Bransten said after the May 2017 ruling, “It is up to a jury to determine whether [the Tour’s] decision to not consult WADA and/or ignore WADA studies and findings issued prior to [Singh’s] suspension concerning deer-antler spray constitute an ‘appropriate’ investigation.”