Law of Cards: Filings in UD v UD Case Allege of a Potential Suitor for Upper Deck

Law of Cards: Filings in UD v UD Case Allege of a Potential Suitor for Upper Deck

Faithful followers of the Upper Deck v Upper Deck saga, fear not -- it's still ongoing! And complete with more alleged bombshells.

On August 5, the international Upper Decks ("UDI") filed a motion asking for the court to exercise its discretion to issue an order resetting fact discovery [….zzz…] so that it is phased, with written discovery […zzzz…] concerning the finances of Defendants and deceased Richard McWilliam’s estate and trust […zzz...].

This was seriously the opening sentence of the motion. It bored me so much I almost stopped reading it. I'm glad I didn't.

Legal translation of this overly intricate motion: So much has happened in this case (the hundreds of pages of Jerry Springer infighting, UDI's bankruptcy proceedings and the untimely death of Richard McWilliams) that actual discovery in this case has been limited, so, UDI wants more time to focus on how much the American UDs ("UDC") are worth.

Apparently, a settlement conference between UDI and UDC did not produce "the results that all parties involved had hoped."

Why? Because UDC still has not fully disclosed its financial position, which arguably, will affect UDI's request for punitive damages. In turn, this will affect the terms from which the case might be resolved amicably.

Legal translation: UDI wants to see what UDC is worth, so it can try and squeeze every penny out of it.

Some of the additional discovery that UDI desires is:

1)      It wants to know what the heck is going on with the McWilliam probate proceedings and the MPR Revocable Trust (allegedly McWilliam's main trust that UDI wants to substitute into the case for the deceased McWilliam).

2)      Apparently, UDI believes (from its review of "tax suits and other publicly available information") that hundreds of millions of dollars were allegedly passing through the MPR Revocable Trust in at least 2003 through 2004, and so UDI wants to know more about that, and

3)      It wants to know whether or not there is a relationship blooming between UDC and Panini. UDI alleges "UDC is contemplating an assets sale to third party, Panini, which UDI discovered only through its own diligence, and which defendants’ counsel has not denied but has stated it will oppose discovery into."

 Legal reaction to point 3: UDI thinks Panini allegedly might buy UD? Really? And we learn about this potential, alleged transaction from the UD v UD case? Man, is this case not the gift that keeps on giving?

Legal disclaimer: OK, before you get excited about Panini buying UDC, we haven't heard yet from any of UDC's filings if this is true, and when UD and Panini were reached for comment, both had no comment on the situation. For now, it's just an unsupported allegation by UDI. Hence the repeated use of my favorite word: "allegedly."

Also, if you've read many legal briefs (and I hope you haven't), you'll note that just about every sentence in those briefs had a citation after them either to evidence or to the law. In fact, there are some judges that if a sentence does not have a "cite" after it, they have their clerks draw a line through those sentences as if they never existed.

The UD/Panini sentence does not have a "cite" after it, so take it with a grain of salt and chalk it up as a rumor.

Nonetheless, it is interesting.

Anything else going on in the UD v UD case? Oh yeah, UDI and UDC also filed competing briefs that heatedly debate whether UDI's claims against McWilliam survive or should be blown up. This debate, however, is esoteric, boring and relies on way too many different legal principles to make an interesting article.

Really, some of the issues both sides brief are:

  • Was proper notice given?
  • What is proper notice?
  • When did the 90-day clock start by when notice was supposed to be given?
  • Was everybody who was supposed to get notice given notice?
  • Should Dutch law apply?

Heck, if you think you want to wade through these issues, here are UDI's and UDC's briefs. Good luck!

Or, you can just wait until the judge rules like I am going to do.

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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