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Friday, August 18, 2006
Golfer's Suit Against Agent Heating Up

Discovery battles have surfaced in pro golfer David Toms' suit against his agent, Links Management Group, LP. In a slip opinion available at 2006 WL 2355865, a federal magistrate judge denied Toms' motion to compel a deposition of Chad Campbell, another golfer and client of the same agent. Toms' lawsuit claims, as reported by a Baton Rouge TV station, "breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty -- not looking out for Toms' best interest -- and seeks the termination of the contract and compensatory damages with interest." The federal magistrate elaborates:
Plaintiff's lawsuit generally alleges that he and Defendant are parties to a written contract; that Defendant breached the contract by not diligently developing, negotiating or managing prospective merchandising endorsements or sponsorships for Plaintiff; that Defendant alienated existing clients and other business associates of Plaintiff; that Defendant has not treated Plaintiff fairly, preferring instead to promote other golfers at the expense of Plaintiff; that Defendant has recouped fees to which it is not entitled under the contract; that Defendant held large endorsement checks for long periods of time, thereby depriving Plaintiff of interest on the money . . . . The petition asserts claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, rescission of the contract, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff also seeks a declaratory judgment regarding termination of the contract.
The relationship between professional athletes and agents -- and the fiduciary law issues posed by breakdowns in the relationship -- is one of the most interesting and challenging areas of sports law. This case will be one to watch for a later substantive opinion.


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