On October 6, baseball pitcher Roman Colon elected to become a free agent. Twenty-three days later, the Dominican-born professional baseball player filed a lawsuit against his former sports agent John David (J.D.) Smart and Smart’s former employer, Hendricks Sports Management, LP. Colon says that the agent and agency should pay for failing to inform him of an offer made by a Korean baseball team. Colon has asked for a reward of at least $1 million.
After a few years of performing for the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, Colon was offered and accepted a contract to play for the KIA Tigers in Korea. He was used as a starting pitcher and went 8-7 with a 3.91 ERA. According to the Complaint, which was filed by his attorneys Patrick Zummo and Adam B. Kenner, Colon’s agent began negotiating a new contract with the KIA Tigers, and the team eventually presented a qualifying offer of 75% of Colon’s prior contract. However, Colon was never notified of the offer. The qualifying offer was terminated, but the team retains Colon’s rights in Korea for an additional five years.
The Complaint alleges that if Colon had known about the qualifying offer, he would have immediately signed with the KIA Tigers. Instead, Colon signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a monthly payment of $12,500. Within the count for breach of fiduciary duty, it says, “Hendricks and Smart breached their fiduciary responsibilities, obligations, and duties imposed on them by engaging in dishonest, disloyal, and immoral conduct.” In addition to that claim for relief, there are counts of negligence, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. J.D. Smart, a defendant named in the Complaint, is no longer a Hendricks Sports Management employee.
Smart and two other baseball agents formerly at Hendricks recently left the company to join Excel Sports Management’s baseball division, which is led by Casey Close.
This could turn into the biggest case involving Hendricks Sports Management since it was sued by Athletes Premier International (API) for tortiously interfering with API’s representation of professional baseball pitcher Aroldis Chapman. That case was settled.