Law of Cards: Upper Deck Slams Distributor in Lawsuit Response

Law of Cards: Upper Deck Slams Distributor in Lawsuit Response

Two months ago, J&T Hobby sued Upper Deck, alleging that UD fraudulently violated a distribution agreement the two companies had shared for over 15 years. UD filed its response to the lawsuit on October 11 and came out with its guns blazing.

UD attacks J&T's complaint for being "uncertain, ambiguous, and unintelligible," for failing to provide an adequate factual basis for the claims made, and for filing after the statute of limitations expired.

Legal translation: "Judge, we have no idea what the heck J&T is saying. There's no support for anything. And, from what we think J&T is saying, this action is a couple years too late."

In its filings, UD states that "[t]his action stems from a fifteen year business relationship" where UD would manufacture and sell goods to J&T, and J&T would distribute them throughout the United States. UD claims this lawsuit is a "transparent effort [by J&T] to ignore their payment obligations to Upper Deck." UD is also ticked that the lawsuit "vindictively and improperly" names UD's CEO Richard McWilliam as a defendant.

Within its filings, UD also informs the court that J&T's lawsuit is not the first (or allegedly even most relevant) lawsuit between the parties because UD filed a lawsuit against J&T on November 7, 2011, seeking payment from J&T for two years of missed payments. In that case UD is seeking $1.5 million in damages. UD has filed a motion for default judgment.

Legal translation: "Hey judge, we are already suing these guys for breach of contract, and we think we're about to win. This case is just pointless retaliation."

A hearing on UD's motions in the J&T v UD case is currently set for December 21. Given the variety of issues, it will be an interesting hearing.

To view UD's filings, click on the below links.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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