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Bernie Lee’s Client’s Wife Wants Half Of His Commission

Bernie Lee, a basketball agent who has been featured on this blog in the past, is now the defendant in a pending lawsuit.  On November 15, the Complaint in the case of Ashley Merritt v. Bernie Lee was filed in a circuit court in the state of Wisconsin (full Complaint is attached at the bottom of this post).

Ashley Merritt is Scott Merritt’s wife.  Scott Merritt is a professional basketball player who currently plays for Link Tochigi Brex in the Japan Basketball League (JBL).  Ashley claims that she and Lee had an oral agreement to act jointly to negotiate Scott’s professional contract for the 2010-2011 season (I assume it is 2011, as the attorney who drafted the Complaint wrote “2100”), and split the agent commissions 50/50.

Lee received a commission of $13,700 from the JBL team.  Ashley Merritt now wants half of that, or $6,850 to be exact.  The four states causes of action are: breach of contract, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, and intentional misrepresentation.

I don’t think Ashley Merritt has even the slimmest chance of winning this.  My favorite is the third cause of action for unjust enrichment.  Good luck to Ms. Merritt in proving that she conferred a benefit on Bernie Lee by “assisting with contract negotiations.”  I would love to know what that benefit entailed.  And better yet, Scott Merritt has no free will.  Ashley Merritt “brought her husband, as a client” to Bernie Lee.  Quite the runner/handler we have here.  Are we sure that she is not somehow connected to the Cameron Newton drama?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

6 replies on “Bernie Lee’s Client’s Wife Wants Half Of His Commission”

I’m not sure I share Darren’s skepticism. I’ve seen scammers sue over $50,000 or $100,000 or more, but this is presumably a non-contingency lawsuit for $6,850. There might be more here than meets the eye.

Right, but that was my point. The plaintiff is very likely spending money out of pocket upfront, so it doesn’t look like a blatant cash-grab attempt. There are plenty of scammers in civil court, but not many sue for less than $7,000.

Darren just saw that you had this posted, someone just sent it to me. 1. its a joke, Scott Merritt is easily one of the nicest human beings/most reasonable professional I have ever met, literally, his wife on the other hand……

Scott`s wife is a lawyer with clearly too much time on her hands and got one of her law school professors and a friend of her fathers from Marquette to file this suit for less then a handshake on her behalf. Clearly its a joke.

For Scott, I took from him playing in the d league, coming off of the worst yr statistically that he had in that league, to where his career is today. The 1st yr I worked with him as a client I got him 3 different jobs, he got cut from one for poor performance, the 2nd the president of his team could not get along with his wife (shocking) and the 3rd is where he finished the yr. To get Scott into Japan which is the perfect market for him I used a relationship with Duane Casey to get introduced to the coach of his team in Japan Tom Wisman who signed Scott. Scott had a good but not great personal yr but his team had great sucess.

Coming into the end of Scott’s 1st yr in Japan it became clear that I just could not work with his wife and they terminated me, which was fine. When Scott’s season was over his coach quit and his team approached me to find them a new coach, this is what an agent does, an agent controls situations. I did so and got them to hire the coach of my choice and in turn the choice became mine wheter or not Scott would have been re signed. If I wanted to, I could have had them sign Wilt Chamberlin’s ashes, literally, but because of my respect for Scott I decided to help him. Scott and his wife approached me about assisting Scott to return to the same club as he had no other options in Japan and against my better judgement I did. Not only that but I negiotiated a 55k raise for Scott, the teams 1st offer was a 10k raise. I do all of that and in the end I get sued to pay someone for doing absolutely nothing….lesson learned such is our business.

Pls write 10 more stories abt me being awesome so when a person googles my name this link isnt the 2nd one on the list!

all the best.


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