Sports Law

Former Excel Sports Employee Is Temporarily Kept Away From Klutch Sports

In March, Excel Sports Management initiated a lawsuit against its former employee Eric Eways and Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group based on allegations that Klutch Sports tortiously interfered with Eways’ employment agreement with Excel Sports and that Eways breached his employment contract. Excel Sports also expressed an interest in enjoining Klutch Sports from employing or otherwise engaging Eways while Eways’ non-compete was to be in effect.

At first, Excel’s attempt at a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent Eways from working with Klutch Sports was rejected. Excel then initiated an appeal and, on this date, the appellate court ruled in Excel Sports’ favor.

The newly issued order prohibits Eways from working for Klutch Sports and Klutch Sports Group from employing Eways pending a hearing and determination of the appeal or October 15, whichever occurs first. The October 15 date was determined based on it being eight months from the date of Eways’ February 15 resignation from Excel Sports and the eight months non-compete language found in his prior Excel Sports employment agreement.

This decision is crucial, as it appears to rebuke the trial court’s prior decision that the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were improper based on numerous grounds, including that tailoring the restrictive covenant to a finite list of competitors (such as Klutch Sports) reflected a punitive approach that could be used to invalidate the agreement.

Eways was hired by Klutch Sports to serve as its Head of Marketing. He will have to wait on serving in such a capacity for the time being.

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.