A couple of years ago, it seemed like NFL Europe and Arena Football were going to have some stiff competition on its hands with the introduction of another Football Minor League. The AAFL was getting some good coverage leading up to its inaugural draft. I even shook hands with players like Chris Leak and Peter Warrick at Team Florida’s draft party. And then everything went down the drain…at least for this year. But what about all those players that got drafted on January 26th? And how about the Protected Players that were signed to each team prior to the draft (Team Florida had 39 such players)? Class Action Lawsuit time!
Atlanta, GA based attorney, Steve Estep, has filed a class action suit against the AAFL and its founder/chairman Marcus Katz. It seems like Estep is targeting Katz under a theory of respondeat superior, allowing Estep to go after the big bucks based on the tort theory of liability.
Marcus Katz was going to be the money behind the league. He said so on several different occasions, so if the league isn’t capitalized, under the piercing-the-corporate-veil theory you can go after the people who were supposed to be capitalizing it. We don’t know if AAFL has a dollar of its own, but we do know that Marcus Katz has lots of dollars, or at least he says he does.
We’re seeking to recover what [the players] were to have been paid plus whatever out of pocket damages they could show, the kind of hard dollar expenses associated with getting new apartment leases and moving, things like that.
I think that the claim seems pretty reasonable based on recovery for reliance damages. A player may not have purchased certain items had he not been promised a spot in the new league. It will be interesting to see how this suit ends up being litigated.