Sports Law Blog
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
John Calipari and Derrick Rose settle ticket devaulation lawsuit
agree to this settlement with University of Memphis ticket holders who filed a lawsuit claiming that the NCAA's vacating of its 2007-08 Final Four season resulted in the devaluation of their tickets? Color me surprised. This lawsuit probably would have been dismissed; instead, the settlement probably makes more of these lawsuits likely to be filed. Mark Conrad and I speak with Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial Appeal about it. Here are excerpts:
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The three Memphis-area attorneys who pursued former University of Memphis coach John Calipari and guard Derrick Rose with threats of legal action probably haven't inspired a new trend, sports law experts say.
But Michael McCann, a professor at Vermont Law School and sports law columnist at SI.com, wouldn't rule out at least a few attempts. "Other fans are going to see this and say 'It sort of worked there,'" McCann said. "They were able to secure a settlement. I don't think it's going to give rise to courts sanctioning this, but I think it could give rise to others wanting to file a lawsuit."
That's how it paid off in May 2010 for local attorneys Martin Zummach, Frank L. Watson III and William Burns. They threatened a lawsuit against Calipari, Rose and U of M athletic director R.C. Johnson, claiming the NCAA's vacating of its 2007-08 Final Four season resulted in the devaluation of their tickets.
Calipari and Rose agreed to pay the attorneys $100,000. Calipari also agreed to donate $232,000, the approximate after-tax value of his bonuses connected with the season, to the Tiger Scholarship Fund. Rose agreed to consider making a donation sometime before 2015.
Conrad noted that though the specifics of the Memphis case seemed unique, ticket-holder lawsuits aren't altogether uncommon. He said they're usually unsuccessful, too.
McCann said he anticipated that the case, if it had ever been filed, would have been dismissed.
But even with the perceived unlikelihood of its success, such a case would have its costs -- "at the very least, stress, cost, retaining a lawyer, time. Time for a coach, obviously, is really valuable."