Decisions Roundup: Latin Broadcaster Wins Contract Battle Over On-Air Talent

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Decisions Roundup: Latin Broadcaster Wins Contract Battle Over On-Air Talent

Wed Mar 26, 2008 @ 11:53AM PST

Posted by Matthew Heller

Gavel_celeb_20061127Case: Amigo Broadcasting v. Spanish Broadcasting System

Court: 5th Circuit

Date: March 19, 2008

Facts: Amigo Broadcasting employed Joaquin Garza and Raul Bernal to host its "El Chulo y La Bola" Spanish-language radio show under a three-year contract. After Garza and Bernal resigned and accepted positions with Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), Amigo sued for breach of contract and other claims. A trial judge granted SBS' motions for judgment as a matter of law, finding Garza and Bernal did not breach their employment agreements by resigning because they were at-will employees.

Holding: The 5th Circuit reinstated the contract claim and remanded it back to the trial court. The contract between Amigo and the "El Chulo" hosts, it said, "does not create or acknowledge a right for Garza and Bernal to resign from Amigo without breaching the Employment Agreements," its purpose only being to "determine what compensation Amigo would owe Garza and Bernal upon termination of the employment relationship." Amigo also presented sufficient evidence that Garza and Bernal illegally allowed SBS to use their names for commercial purposes without Amigo's consent.

To view the opinion, click here.

Case: Montana Professional Sports v. National Indoor Football League

Court: Montana Supreme Court

Date: March 24, 2008

Facts: Montana Professional Sports (MPS), the owner of the Billing Outlaws professional indoor football team, filed suit in 2006 to enjoin the National Indoor Football League from infringing on its trademark and to remain an NIFL franchise. A trial judge entered a default judgment of $189,000 against the NIFL and denied a motion to set aside the judgment for serving the complaint on a receptionist who was not employed by the league.

Holding: Service was proper since the process server "had no reason to doubt" that the receptionist "was in charge based on [her] affirmative representation ... Although MPS served a person not employed by NIFL, it did not serve a mere stranger to NIFL" and the service "fairly and reasonably effectuated the purpose of giving NIFL adequate notice to defend the action." The NIFL's neglect in defending the complaint also was not excusable because it failed in its affirmative duty to monitor the litigation.

To view the opinion, click here.

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