Former CAA agent Ben Dogra’s fight with Houston attorney Rusty Hardin is heating up – Sports Agent Blog

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On July 30, 2021, sports agent Ben Dogra filed a lawsuit against celebrity attorney Rusty Hardin and his law firm Rusty Hardin & Associates, LLP. Since then, the defendants have turned themselves into counter-claimants and counter-sued Dogra. The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, case number 21-cv-00949.

Dogra’s complaint revolves around four counts: (1) legal malpractice/professional negligence; (ii) breach of contract; (3) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (as an alternative cause of action); and (4) had and received money. Dugra claims his employment by Creative Artists Agency was wrongfully terminated without cause, he has retained Hardin and his law firm to represent him against CAA in connection with the wrongful termination, and “significantly , the post-hearing report” submitted by Hardin and his company in an arbitration hearing against CAA “agreed to CAA’s proposed figure of $2,756,503” for the coaching income at issue. Dugra had other lawyers during the arbitration against CAA, including his current lawyers fighting Hardin and his company (Jesse Kaplan and Brian Friedman). More on that later.

Dogra is upset that neither Hardin nor his law firm has requested an accounting and audit of CAA’s coaching income, or at least reserved Dogra’s rights to do so. Thus, when the arbitrator found in favor of Dogra, the opinion and award relied on the CAA’s proposed figure of $2,756,503 and awarded that amount to Dogra, but also said that each class of claims (such as marketing income, consulting income, and contract income player) in which the amount of damages was in dispute, needed an audit to calculate the damages.

After receiving the opinion and award, Hardin and his company sought coaching earnings beyond CAA’s proposed figure, but the arbitrator ruled that Dugra had specifically agreed to, and was therefore bound by, the $2,756,503 figure. Dogra was not happy about this, particularly due to the fact that a subsequent audit apparently found that the CAA’s proposed amount was grossly understated (approximately $7.7 million).

Dogra filed suit against Hardin and his company, alleging that they were negligent in their representation of him and should never have agreed to the amount of coaching damages offered by CAA.

His breach of contract claim found that Hardin and his firm agreed to charge Dugra a $1.575 million fixed fee for representation in the arbitration matter, including serving as lead counsel through arbitration or court decisions related to Dugra’s employment. will be The contract with CAA says Dogra paid the full amount and wants some of it back because,

“At the time of the opinion and award in July 2016, Hardin no longer had an active role in representing Digra in the arbitration. “In fact, Hardin’s role in representing Digra in the arbitration was virtually non-existent.”

Filed under 21-cv-00949.

The arbitration continued for at least five years after the 2016 opinion and award, and Hardin’s role quickly diminished “to the point where it was virtually non-existent,” the dissent claims.

Hardin and his law firm counterclaimed on two counts: (1) breach of contract; and (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The basis of their counterclaim was that Dogra entered into an agreement that defined the terms of Dogra’s engagement with the law firm and that Dogra agreed to pay Hardin an additional amount if the arbitration was successful, as defined in the result. Where the disputant received an award as a result of a trial or negotiated agreement.

While Dogra may not have received the money he wanted, he did win an award against CAA, and Hardin demanded a success fee.

So where are we now? After more than a year and a half of fighting in federal court, the case is still pending. Recently, US District Judge John E. Ross, who is overseeing the case, ruled on motions to quash or a protective order filed by several current dissenting attorneys. These requests were rejected.

Hardin wanted to exonerate Degra’s attorneys, including the aforementioned Kaplan and Friedman, for their involvement in the arbitration and knowledge of the events leading up to Degra’s instant claims. Subpoenas were issued and Kaplan/Friedman filed a motion to quash.

The judge denied those motions on the grounds that Eighth Circuit precedent allows Hardin & Co. to invoke Kaplan and Friedman’s specific knowledge of the facts from a prior arbitration giving rise to the instant issue. Dogra waived his privilege by placing his attorneys’ prior conduct in this case.

Additionally, the Court finds it significant that Plaintiff consulted with Friedman in March 2016 around the time of the settlement request containing language similar to the post-hearing brief regarding coaching contract earnings, and that Kaplan later prepared a summary in which, again, It was mentioned. The order states the rejection of offers. “Even if Kaplan wasn’t directly involved in 2016, he knew the internal history of the arbitration. Simply put, a lawyer cannot unilaterally declare his knowledge common or irrelevant. Due to the sensitive nature of the plaintiff’s claims, the defendants have the right to be informed of the roles, decisions and actions of each lawyer involved in the arbitration, including the lawyer, as actual witnesses in the present case.

So, with real legal advice under the microscope and their inability to hide behind privilege, the case should get a little more intense.

The trial date has been postponed several times so far, but it appears that the case may finally go to trial in May 2023.