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Monday, August 07, 2006
 
10th Circuit Partially Reverses Jury Verdict in Broncos Ownership Dispute Case

On August 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit partially reversed a jury verdict that had gone in favor of former Denver Broncos owner Ed Kaiser (who had sold the team in 1984). See Kaiser v. Bohlen, 2006 WL 2130439 (10th Cir. 2006). Greg blogged about the underlying dispute and jury verdict back in February 2004 in this post. As Greg's post notes, the jury gave Kaiser a partial victory; the district court subsequently ordered specific performance allowing Kaiser to buy back an ownership stake in the company that owns the Broncos.

The 10th Circuit's holding is based on a narrow reading of the Right-of-First-Refusal provision of the contract, and essentially involves a different interpretation of the contract than the district court's. A more interesting aspect of the decision may be the court's opening paragraph:
If sport be a metaphor for life, then surely the sale of a National Football League franchise must be like the game itself. Sophisticated businessmen, armed at the elbow with teams of experts, including transactional lawyers, advance their offensive and defensive strategies towards the goal of obtaining a contract, shaking hands, and sealing the deal. When the ink is dry, the game is over. If a dispute arises, our role, like that of a referee, is to ensure that the parties live up to their agreements, follow the law, and play by the rules.
Kaiser has vowed to continue his fight in state court.





1 Comments:

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