2012 is going to be known as the year of the settled case. The latest case to settle: Leaf Trading Cards v. Andrew Luck. That's right, the lawsuit that began a week before Luck was picked first overall in the draft has just wrapped up a month and a week later. This one settled so quickly that Luck never needed to make a court appearance.
The motion for dismissal is short and cryptic, really just saying, "Plaintiff no longer desires to prosecute this case against Defendant," and that Leaf requests the court to dismiss the case "with prejudice."
Legal translation: Leaf informs the court that it will not sue Luck again on this matter.
So, what does this mean? Who won?
Since Luck never made an appearance we never got to hear his side. And because the settlement is confidential, it's screened from our review.
If I had to guess, I think both sides agreed to just walk away. Luck said he was sorry for sending a nasty-gram to Leaf, and Leaf said it was sorry for suing Luck. And no one exchanged any money.
Why? It's a small case. Any attorneys fees that both sides would pay in this case would exceed the value anyone could recover.
And although I keep hoping there will be a case that will give the industry clarity on issues for right of publicity, this case joins the ranks of cases like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar v. Upper Deck and Buzz Aldrin v. Topps where the issue was there to be decided but it just won't happen.
Now, Luck can work on preparing for his first NFL season, Leaf can work on producing cards and both can enjoy the fact that they will not spend any more money in court.
Actually, that applies to the entire industry. Given the mass of Topps, Upper Deck, Panini and Leaf settlements already this year, the industry is spending A LOT less in court this year than they did last year. Maybe they'll be able to spend more on cards and build on an already strong 2012 thus far.
Unfortunately, this is how businesses are run now. Each companies' legal departments already have their 2012 budgets set and I have a funny feeling each will find a way to spend it, somehow.
Probably in filing new cases in 2012. I mean, there are still seven months left.
In case you're curious, here's a copy of the Motion to Dismiss.
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