Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grant Boxing Voluntarily Dismisses Action Against Pacquiao and Top Rank with Prejudice

Following up on my post, Pacquiao & Top Rank Back In Federal Court As Defendants In Lawsuit Filed by Grant Boxing, on November 22, 2010 (and without explanation), Grant Boxing, Inc. and GB Licensing LLC voluntarily dismissed their complaint against MP Promotions USA Inc., M.P. Merchandise, LLC, Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao (a/k/a Manny Pacquiao), Rogelio D. Pacquiao and Top Rank, Inc. with prejudice. 

As you will recall, plaintiffs had asserted claims for Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation Of Origin, Unfair Competition, False Advertising, Federal Trademark Dilution, Deceptive Trade Practices, and Trademark Dilution

There were no answers (or motions) filed by any defendant

Fight Lawyer

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lawsuit Filed Against Pacquiao In Texas And Court Enters Temporary Restraining Order Locking Up Part of His Fight Purse

On November 11, 2010, a complaint was filed against Manny Pacquiao in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas by Imperial Ed Promotions, LLC.  Imperial Ed also sought a temporary restraining order locking up part of Pacquiao's pay from the Margarito fight last weekend.

As alleged in the complaint:
On or around July 28, 2010, the parties entered into a written contract, signed by and between Edmundo H. Lozano of IMPERIAL ED PROMOTIONS, LLC ("Imperial") and EMMANUEL PACQUIAO ("Pacquiao"), and witnessed thereof by Bebra Pérez and María Lourdes Guillen (the "Agreement"). Pacquiao was paid one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00 USD) by Imperial to make a special appearance, and failed to appear and to return the money in breach of contract. . . . On or around July 16, 2010, at Bebra Pérez’s request, Imperial paid for an airplane ticket in the amount of $1,850.00 to María Lourdes Guillen, so that she could personally deliver the written contract to Pacquiao in General Santos City, Philippines. 
According to the allegations in the complaint, Pacquiao signed the contract in General Santos City, Philippines and the terms of the contract required that Pacquiao make a number of appearances in Texas "scheduled to coincide with the Bicentennial of the Mexican War of Independence (1810) and the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution (1910)."  A copy of the contract was attached to the pleadings.

Plaintiff alleged that the scheduled events "included a number of social functions and promotional opportunities in the city of McAllen, Texas, and the surrounding area, leading to a series of boxing matches held in the city of Hidalgo, Texas."
According to the allegations in the complaint, plaintiff was required to wire a payment of $100,000 to Pacquaio and "Pacquiao's team" provided an account to wire the money to in the name of his wife, Jinkee Pacquiao.
According to the allegations in the complaint, Plaintiff approached Pacquiao during a press conference in Dallas promoting the Margarito fight and that is when things went wrong:   
Edmundo H. Lozano ("Lozano"), the President of Imperial ED Promotions, LLC, approached Pacquiao with a poster in his hand. The poster was part of Imperial’s promotional materials and clearly depicted the September event, hosted by Imperial in McAllen, Texas, and the surrounding area ("Rio Grande Valley"). Lozano personally told Pacquiao that the Imperial team and company were there at the Dallas, Texas, press conference, and that they were the promotions team for the events that Pacquiao agreed to attend in two more weeks. Pacquiao indicated that he did not know if he was to attend any of the events. Pacquiao signed the poster. When Lozano tried to talk to Pacquiao again about his attendance at the September events, the bodyguards refused to allow the members of the Imperial team near Pacquiao.  Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, directly told another member of the Imperial team, Salvador Avilez, that Pacquiao would not appear at the September events scheduled in the Rio Grande Valley. Specifically, Freddie Roach confirmed that it would not be possible for Pacquiao to appear, as it would conflict with his training for the Margarito fight.
Plaintiff asserted claims for "breach of contract," "common law fraud," "fraud by nondisclosure," tortious interference with existing contract," and "tortious interference with prospective business relations."

Plaintiff also sought a temporary restraining order that the Court granted on November 12, 2010.

The TRO provided in relevant part as follows:

That Defendant EMMANUEL PACQUIAO, and Defendant’s officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all persons acting in concert with them, are hereby enjoined from transferring, disbursing, distributing, or otherwise secreting funds received by Defendant, or subject to his control, from TOP RANK, INC. ("TOP RANK") and/or any other person or entity, as a result of his contract to fight ANTONIO MARGARITO ("MARGARITO") on November 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas, in an amount up to $1.5 million, by which accounts for the $1,180,210 sought by Plaintiff as damages by reason of Defendant’s breach of contract, plus attorney fees, costs of suit, and interest, to be held pending further order of this Court;
The Court set a scheduling conference on November 22, 2010 at 2 p.m and required that plaintiff post a bond of $10,000.

This is the second lawsuit against Pacquiao in the last two weeks.  As you may recall, a lawsuit was filed against Pacquiao on November 17, 2010 seeking $10,000,000 for an alleged breach of a music deal.

Fight Lawyer

Friday, November 19, 2010

Zuffa Takes the Piracy Fight to Google

My post on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice that Zuffa sent to Google is up at MMAPayout.

Also, for more legal analysis check out David Nelmark's article on the issue as he specifically addresses whether Zuffa could successfully pursue a claim for contributory copyright infringement against Google.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A History Lesson (or History’s Lesson) on Mixed Martial Arts in New York

If you have not already, check out my contribution over at MMAPayout on the history of MMA in New York.  In the article I look back to the early days, i.e. 1995-1997, and note some interesting similarities between the past and the current political situation.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Theory On The Roy Nelson Situation

In response to the MMAJunkie article, White: Roy Nelson's UFC career on hold until outside contract issues resolved, there has been speculation concerning why this has become an issue now given that Robert Joyner first broke news of the Square Ring, Inc. v. Nelson and Zuffa lawsuit back in early-August

I gave significant coverage (here and here) to the case back then as well.

The short answer is that I don't know what changed.  Some theorize that perhaps SRI received an injunction, or was on the verge of receiving an injunction that would enjoin Nelson from fighting for any organization pending a full trial on the merits. 

Personally, I do not think that is the case for two reasons.

First, as I recall SRI's complaint did not seek injunctive relief on a temporary basis or a permanent basis.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, I see no mention of any injunction on the court docket.

My theory (and, again, this is speculation), first articulated on  “MMA Nation” on CBS Radio’s 106.7 The Fan, is that there is some settlement in the works. 

Here is the audio to the radio segment courtesy of Luke Thomas.

If there is a settlement in the works, I would have no way of knowing whether it is between Zuffa and SRI only or if it includes Nelson.  It is possible that Zuffa has agreed to have no further dealings with Nelson until any alleged contract issues between him and SRI are resolved and in exchange SRI would dismiss Zuffa from the action.

As part of this settlement (and to resolve the case), perhaps Nelson agreed to some period of time to abstain from fighting for any other promotion (6 months, a year, can't really be sure).

Alternatively, Nelson may not be part of the hypothetical settlement and may simply have to ride this litigation out until the trial -- according to the docket, the trial is set for January 3, 2012. 

This is my best guess.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, November 15, 2010

MMA World Expo Panel: "Past, Present, Future of Mixed MArtial Arts" Audio

As you may know, I participated on a panel on Friday along with Eddie Goldman, MMA Reporter, NHB News, Edward Anthony, President & CEO, New York Jiu Jitsu, and Dorian Price, professional MMA fighter, contestant on the Ultimate Fighter 6, and instructor at New York Jiu Jitsu. 

The Panel, "Past, Present and Future of Mixed Martial Arts," fittingly focused on New York’s place in the battle to legitimize (and re-legalize) MMA.

(All Photos Courtesy of Paulo Floresca)
Eddie Goldman was able to record the panel for his No Holds Barred radio show.  Please note, however, that the audio is not perfect because Eddie could not connect his equipment to the audio equipment at the Javits Center.  All-in-all, the audio came out pretty well.

For those of you who could not attend the Expo, it included a great display of businesses in the MMA industry, including many local businesses, a number of seminars put on by experts from their respective disciplines, and included a muay thai and grappling competition.  

With the help of teacher David Grodsky and through the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative, we were also able to bring four high school students from East Harlem to the to the Expo so that they could watch the muay thai tournament and gain exposure to the sport. 

I will be addressing some of the specific topics of discussion from the panel in an article this week at MMAPayout.  For now, here is the audio courtesy of Eddie Goldman

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bob Reilly Victorious in 109th Assembly District Election

As reported in an article, Reilly wins after absentees are counted, over at Times Union, Bob Reilly has defeated challenger Jennifer Whalen:
Assemblyman Bob Reilly has won re-election to the Assembly, defeating challenger Jennifer Whalen after election officials counted absentee ballots today.  Reilly, Democrat, won with 542 more votes than Whalen, a Republican making her first bid for office.
As of Wednesday, with only 700 or so absentee ballots remaining, Reilly has a 500 vote lead and so it looked like Whalen was basically done. Now it is official. 

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting Excited For The World MMA Expo

Getting excited for the MMA Expo this weekend. 

If you haven't checked out the website, you should do so as there is a ton of great stuff going on over the course of the weekend.

S.C. Michaelson has a nice article, A Quick Look At The 2010 MMA World Expo, over at WKB and CBS New York did a write-up on the Expo (hat tip Fight Opinion) that details some of the events that will be taking place over the course of the weekend, including one panel where I will be a participant:
Several special events are also planned for the weekend including: live Capoeira performances, US Marine Corp Martial Arts Program presentations, Open Q & A with fight organization executives from M-1 Global, Team WAT Muay Thai and Boxing presentations, a new Take Down Tournament preview by Elite Plus MMA and fight film highlight reels will roll throughout the exhibit hall. In addition, the show will also feature a panel discussion on the Past, Present, and Future of Mixed Martial Arts with MMA news reporter, Eddie Goldman, NY attorney and Combat Sports blogger Justin Klein, and MMA School owner, Edward Anthony.
After I finish up with the panel on Friday, I will be meeting up with the students from Park East High School (and their teacher David Grodsky), who will be there with the support of the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative and will be checking out some of the tournaments and hopefully getting the opportunity to meet some of the fighters who will be in attendance.

If you see us walking around, be sure to say hello.

Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bob Reilly Jennifer Whalen Race Could Be Settled Today--Reilly's Lead Without Absentee Votes Counted Cut To 477

As set forth in a post over at the Times Union blog, Reilly, Whalen race could be settled Wednesday, Reilly's lead over Jennifer Whalen has been cut by 100 before counting the 2,200 absentee ballots and we may have a result today.

Apparently, there was some error in tabulating Whalen's votes in one district in Halfmoon:  "Whalen picked up 100 votes when an election district in Halfmoon was shown to have been recorded as 91 votes when her actual count was 191."

I will continue to monitor.


With only 700 or so absentee ballots remaining, Reilly has a 500 vote lead and so it looks like Whalen is basically done.  The completion of the counting has been put off to Friday -- no explanation why.

She is already telling her kids what to say to their friends if she loses:
'It's like losing a sports event in sudden-death overtime,' she said she told her boys. 'It's pretty good to have made it this far.'
There is no prize for second place.

Fight Lawyer

MMAPayout: The Business of MMA

Excited to announce that effective immediately, I will be a weekly guest contributor to the great site, MMAPayout.  My first article about Zuffa's fight against piracy is now posted to the site.  Check it out.

I will continue to do my regular posting here, so this will just be additional content.

Thanks as always for the support.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MMA World Expo 2010 Panel Discussion

If you will be in New York City for the MMA Expo at the Jacob Javits Center this Friday (as an aside, I think the last time I was at the Javits Center was to take the bar exam), please stop by for a panel discussion, "Past, Present and Future of Mixed Martial Arts" -- I will be one of the guests.

Here are the details:

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Room 1-C03 (Outside exhibit hall)

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The panel guests are:

Eddie Goldman, MMA Reporter, NHB News
• Justin Klein, Attorney, Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP, The Fight Lawyer
• Edward Anthony, President & CEO, New York Jiu Jitsu
• TBD Guest MMA Fighter

The purpose of the session:

• To give a historical outline of the evolution of the sport of mixed martial arts

• To discuss current legal issues and public-opinion obstacles that are preventing legalization in NYS

• To discuss how athletes and school owners are currently managing their MMA curriculum and how it will change once NYS MMA legalization finally takes place.

It should be a great panel and I look forward to meeting and talking with the other panelists. 

We are also, through the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative, trying to bring some of the students from East Harlem to the Expo to watch some of the many seminars that are being offered and otherwise gain exposure to the sport.

Looking forward to it.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, November 8, 2010

Great Article on The New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative Over at Watch Kalib Run

If you haven't seen it already, S.C. Michaelson has written a great article over at Watch Kalib Run, "A Look Into the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative."

It is great to see recognition and positive coverage for the non-profit and, in particular, recognition for David Grodsky, the teacher who is devoting his time and instructing the students after school without any compensation.

Thanks to S.C. for the coverage and thanks to all of our sponsors and contributors for the incredible support so far.

Fight Lawyer

Friday, November 5, 2010

Text Of Preliminary Injunction Entered In Zuffa's Action Against Alleged English Operator of livevss.tv & livevss.net. What is "rage-streams.net?"

Following up on my post, Zuffa Gets Preliminary Injunction In Action Against Alleged English Operator of livevss.tv & livevss.net Websites, here is the text of the preliminary injunction entered by Judge Kent J. Dawson on November 3, 2010:
UPON CONSIDERATION of the motion filed by Plaintiff Zuffa, LLC for a preliminary injunction, the supporting memorandum of points and authorities, the supporting declaration and evidence, the record in this case, and for other good cause shown;
1. Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims for copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement given that Plaintiff owns the copyrighted works defined in Plaintiff’s Complaint as Plaintiff’s “Copyrighted Broadcasts,” and that Defendant’s website streams Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcasts without license, consent or authority from Plaintiff;
2. Plaintiff is also likely to succeed on the merits of its state law claim for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage;
3. Plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury if the Court does not order Defendant to cease any further infringing activity involving the Copyrighted Broadcasts, including UFC 120, which the Court may also presume exists given that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its copyright infringement claims;
4. The balance of hardships tips in favor of Plaintiff because issuance of the preliminary injunction order would merely prohibit Defendant from posting content at the website associated with the [rage-streams.net[sic] domain name, and failure to issue the restraining order would cause Plaintiff to suffer and incur additional expenses and loss of goodwill; and
5. Issuance of the preliminary injunction would be in the public interest because it would protect consumers against deception and confusion arising from the use of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcasts by an entity other than Plaintiff;
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, pending a full trial on the merits:
A. Defendant, defendant’s agents, servants, employees and/or all persons acting in concert or participation with defendant are prohibited from copying, manipulating, adapting, reproducing, uploading, distributing, sharing, selling or displaying any of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcasts and are prohibited from copying, manipulating, adapting, reproducing, uploading, distributing, sharing, selling or displaying UFC 120 in any manner;
B. The domain name registrar, eNom, Inc., shall immediately transfer the <livevss.tv> and <livevss.net> domain name registrations to Plaintiff for the pendency of this action;
C. Plaintiff shall not be required to post an additional bond because the evidence indicates Defendant will only suffer, if at all, minimal damage by the issuance of this preliminary injunction, hence the present bond of $100.00 will remain in effect.
(emphasis added).

If you are wondering what "rage-streams.net" is (or where that website came from when everything else in the case has been about livevss.tv and livevss.net), I have no clue and can only assume it is a typo that the Court picked up from the proposed order filed by Zuffa, which contained the same web address.

I tried the URL and the site was down.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Did Sheldon Silver Run Unopposed In The 64th Assembly District?

In following the New York State political races, many websites (e.g. Luke Thomas over at Bloody Elbow yesterday) have correctly noted that although Reilly is the most outspoken politician against MMA, the real obstacles to passage of the bill to legalize MMA in the New York Assembly are the Speaker, Sheldon Silver, and the democratic caucus.

I have written a bunch on this, but here is one recent post where I discussed his influence.

As MMAConvert correctly noted yesterday, Sheldon Silver ran unopposed in the 64th Assembly District

In case you were thinking that he ran unopposed because there was nobody willing to challenge him, think again.  In fact, Sheldon Silver ran to court and filed a lawsuit in an effort to keep a Republican opponent, Joan Lipp, off the ballot.

The crux of Silver's claim was that Lipp did not have the required signatures from registered republicans in the 64th Assembly District to be placed on the ballot.

On a related note, if you haven't already, you should check out Luke Thomas' article at Bloody Elbow for a good discussion concerning lobbying efforts to bring MMA to New York.

Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Zuffa Gets Preliminary Injunction In Action Against Alleged English Operator of livevss.tv & livevss.net Websites

Following up on my posts, Zuffa Files Lawsuit Seeking To Shut Down livevss.tv & livevss.net and Zuffa Gets TRO In Piracy Case Shutting Down Livevss.tv Livevss.net -- TRO Seems Overly Broad, on November 2, 2010,  Judge Kent J. Dawson conducted a preliminary injunction hearing and, after being informed that the "Defendant has not responded to the summons," he granted the preliminary injunction. 

The Court also granted Zuffa's request for a "Court order to the [domain] Registrar to transfer the domain names to [Zuffa]."

Another victory for Zuffa in its efforts to curb alleged piracy. 

Unfortunately, going after piracy seems like a game of Whac-A-Mole, i.e. these sites will keep popping up just as quickly as you take one down.

Fight Lawyer

Assemblyman Reilly's Battle With Challenger Whalen Still Technically Not Over, but Reilly Claims Victory

With 100% of the precincts reporting in the 109th Assembly District -- Assemblyman Reilly has a 577 vote lead over challenger Jennifer Whalen. I assumed, incorrectly last night, that absentee ballots were included in the 100% and/or that the number of absentee ballots would not be high enough to overcome the lead. 

In fact, with approximately 2,120 absentee ballots, it is still technically not over.

The Albany Times Union just published an article, Reilly lead may be hard to overcome, stating that "Republican challenger Jennifer Whalen would have to win almost two out of every three absentee votes in order to win election in the 109th Assembly District." 

Specifically, "there are only 2,120 absentee ballots. To win, Whalen would have to receive 73 percent of those votes. The boards of election in Albany and Saratoga counties plan to open those ballots on Wednesday, Nov. 10."

Reilly has claimed victory:
I feel confident my opponent won't be able to overcome that difference, [.] "I am very happy to have won. We had a great grass-roots effort. I think my greatest problem was the anti-incumbency sentiment."
Whalen has not given up yet, "'I'm still hopeful. I'm going to be hopeful until the last ballot is counted,' she said. 'We ran a good race, I'm a hard worker, my volunteers believed in the message and believed in me.'"

I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer