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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Oklahoma State Sues Former O-Line Coach for Breach of Contract

Oklahoma State is suing its former offensive line coach, Joe Wickline, for damages resulting from a breach of contract caused by Wickline’s new job with the Texas Longhorns. Last Friday, the suit was filed in district court alleging the parties entered into a contract requiring Wickline to pay a buy-out fee if he ever left the OK State for a position at another bowl division team that didn’t contain play calling duties.  In January, Wickline was hired by Texas as offensive coordinator and offensive…
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What’s Next, Civil Litigation Against Sports Memorabilia Dealers for Improper Dealings with College-Athletes?

Your favorite college football team loses its star quarterback or running back due to a suspension for NCAA violations related to compensation received from a sports memorabilia dealer for autographing multiple items that the dealer sells.  The college suffers damage in the form of potential lost ticket sales, merchandising, bowl revenue, and negative publicity.  Does the university have any recourse against the dealer who stands outside the reach of NCAA oversight but who profits from the offending transactions? NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.1 prohibits student-athletes from accepting…
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“Morals Clauses” in Sports Contracts – More Important Now Than Ever Before?

NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are the latest in a long line of professional athletes whose misdeeds have been exposed to the glare of public scrutiny and discourse on whether they should be terminated or suspended due to their conduct away from the playing field.  Implicit in the dialogue and debate on the proper response of professional sports leagues and teams to the off-field misdeeds of their players is the contractual right to terminate or suspend  players under the so-called “morals clauses” of…
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