Tuesday, May 1, 2018

District Judge Denies Shane Mosley's Summary Judgment Motion in Dispute with Bobby Hitz Promotions

Federal District Judge Michael Fitzgerald of the Central District of California recently denied Shane Mosley and his promotional company GoBox Promotions, Inc.'s ("GBP") Summary Judgment motion in their dispute with Bobby Hitz' promotional entity, Hitz Entertainment Corporation ("HEC"), over cruiserweight prospect Dimar Ortuz' promotional rights.

Recall that HEC filed its complaint in February 2017 alleging that Mosley and GBP had tortiously interfered with HEC's promotional contract ("Promo") with Ortuz.  HEC had allegedly given Ortuz permission to fight on a reality TV show called "Knockout" where Mosley served as a trainer.  As HEC was negotiating with the TV show's representatives, Mosley allegedly promoted an Ortuz fight on the Mosley-Mayorga PPV undercard, as well as two subsequent Ortuz bouts, without HEC's permission.

The Court denied Mosley's motion as to both of HEC's causes of action, tortious interference with contractual relations ("TICR") and tortious interference with prospective business advantage ("TIPBA"), on the basis that HEC had established a dispute of material fact.  The Court issued a caveat on the TIPBA claim that HEC "offered an extremely narrow basis for finding the alleged conduct was independently tortious.  Indeed, so narrow . . . that the claims have become virtually duplicative.  As a technical matter, both claims survive this Motion, but the Court does not intend to give HEC two bites at the apple.  It is highly unlikely that HEC will be permitted to recover on both claims."

Mosley attacked HEC's TICR claim on the basis that HEC did not have a valid contract with Ortuz.  Mosley claimed that HEC materially breached the Promo by not offering Ortuz the requisite number of bouts per year as the offers had to specifically "be in writing and include the name of the proposed opponent and the gross purse amount."  Mosley argued that HEC's material breach of the Promo would invalidate the contract and excuse any of Ortuz' subsequent breaches of fighting for GBP.

The Court found that even if HEC technically did not make the requisite amount of offers in writing, as HEC claimed to make some verbal offers, this was not a material breach.  The Court stated, "at the very least, failure to make an offer in writing (as opposed to verbally) or to state the purse amount in the offer does not seem to be the kind of breach regarding which 'reasonable minds cannot differ' as to materiality."

The Court also did not buy Mosley's argument that HEC had "unclean hands" and tried to profit off of Ortuz' participation in the GBP promoted fights.  Thus, the Court denied Mosley's Motion as to the TICR claim.

The Court also found that HEC's TIPBA claim held up because there was a dispute of material fact as to whether Mosley and GBP also interfered with the contract between Ortuz and the TV producers of "Knockout".

See Opinion below:

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