One Giant Accusation: Motion to Disqualify Judge Now Pending in Giants Fake Merchandise Lawsuit
Eric Inselberg, a memorabilia dealer bringing suit against the New York Giants, has moved to disqualify Superior Court Judge James DeLuca, contending that his impartiality is at issue. Judge DeLuca has disclosed that he is the owner of two personal seat licenses that enable him to purchase season tickets for Giants home games. Additionally, he has stated that while his son essentially controls the tickets, he does attend one or two of the games per season and has been a fan of the franchise since the late 1950s or early 1960s.
According to the brief, “[a] reasonable observer aware of the fact that the presiding judge has spent over five decades rooting for the Giants to win would necessarily question whether the judge could stop doing so at will.” It went on to explain that the personal seat licenses represent an interest on the part of Judge DeLuca that could be affected by the outcome of the proceeding and should trigger his disqualification, as the licenses’ value rises and falls with the popularity of the team.
Originally, Inselberg brought suit in response to an FBI sting that led to his indictment on criminal charges. That case was subsequently dropped, but Inselberg has previously declared that he wants to make the Giants and Eli Manning accountable for the eventual destruction of his business. Accordingly, the Giants, Manning, and the other defendants tried to remove the ongoing lawsuit to federal court, since the federal court generally provides a forum far more favorable to the interests of those being sued. The federal judge, however, ruled that the case filed by Inselberg would proceed in state court after rejecting findings that the suit contains patent claims preempted by federal law.