Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Middendorf Wins Judgment For Over $500,000 Against Top Rank In Crawford Contract Dispute

Chris Middendorf's company Middendorf Sports won a judgment of $520,296.87 plus prejudgment interest in its suit against Top Rank in U.S. Federal Court, District of Nebraska, over their contractual percentage owed on Terence Crawford's purses for title defenses.  Judge John Gerrard issued the opinion on Sunday.

This suit was brought in January 2017 after Top Rank stopped paying a fee equal to 8% of Crawford's title defense purses which they contracted to pay Middendorf in an Agreement and Release that enabled Crawford to sign with Top Rank back in 2011.

The Court found that the language in the Agreement and Release was "unambiguous" that "Top Rank is obliged to pay Middendorf eight percent of Crawford's 'purse' for any Crawford "title defense" that Top Rank promotes pursuant to a promotional rights agreement."  The Court determined that the obligation to pay the fee did not terminate when Top Rank signed Crawford to an Exclusive Restated Promotional Agreement in 2014.  The Court had essentially made this determination in its opinion on Top Rank's motion for summary judgment back in April 2018.

The parties still had a dispute over the meaning of the terms "purse" and "title defense" and recently went to trial over these issues. 

Top Rank argued that the term "purse" did not include additional revenues from gate participation that were paid to Crawford. The Court disagreed and held that gate participation was also part of the purse. The Court found that the term "purse", within the meaning of the Agreement and Release, meant "simply the remuneration paid to Crawford."

Regarding the meaning of the term "title defense", Top Rank argued that a "unification bout" did not come under the definition of a "title defense" and was a separate type of bout where no fees were owed to Middendorf.  The Court found that "Top Rank's argument that the categories of "title defense" and "unification bout" are mutually exclusive is not supported by the evidence."  The Court reasoned that a bout can be both a unification and a title defense.

No word on whether Top Rank will appeal.

See the Court's Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:
See the Judgment:

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