Basketball Agent Aaron Mintz Awarded $85,000 For Emotional Distress Caused By Priority Sports
In March, I learned that basketball agent Aaron Mintz had left long-time employer Priority Sports and Entertainment in favor of joining the basketball division at Creative Artists Agency. At the time, Mintz said, “this is just an unbelievable opportunity for me…I couldn’t be more excited.”
That excitement never disappeared; however, Mintz would soon become occupied by not only building his new practice, but also fighting lawsuits against his former employer. Mintz sued Priority Sports. Priority Sports countersued. The issue over the enforceability of the non-compete clause in Mintz’s employment contract with Priority Sports was never determined (Priority Sports dropped the claim), but we took some time to discuss the choice of law provision.
Kris Humphries’ business manager signed a declaration stating that Priority Sports’ President of Athlete Representation called Mintz an idiot for accessing his personal e-mail account from a company computer. The Court then noted that there was no dispute that at the direction of Priority Sport’s senior counsel, a Priority Sports employee accessed Mintz’s Gmail account without permission, and viewed the contents of several emails, including Mintz’s employment agreement with CAA.
The main matter left to determine at trial was the amount of damages sustained by Mintz based on Priority Sports’ invasion of Mintz’s privacy and violation of the California Computer Data Access & Fraud Act stemming from the company’s access of Mintz’s personal email account. And last week, the jury awarded Mintz $85,000 ($80,000 based on prior emotional distress and $5,000 for contemplated future emotional distress).
“We are more than satisfied with the verdict.” said Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP and counsel to Aaron Mintz during the trial phase of the litigation. “Aaron was completely vindicated. The only real harm was the emotional distress based on Aaron having his personal Gmail account hacked into. $85,000 does the trick.”
Miller mentioned that Priority Sports cross-examined Mintz for about 3 hours concerning his emotional distress to try to make the argument that he had none. “The jury just didn’t buy the lack of emotional distress argument,” explained Miller. “This is a wonderful result for Aaron’s career and CAA. The weight of the world is off Aaron’s shoulders.”