SBJ/October 21 - 27, 2002/Labor Agents

Agent Fleisher wins $4.6M judgment

Eric Fleisher, the agent who negotiated Kevin Garnett's record $126 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1998, last week won a $4.6 million judgment against a former employee who left Fleisher's firm in 1999 and took Garnett and other clients with him.

Andy Miller, who started as a paid intern in 1992 and rose to the firm's presidency, was found liable in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan for the loss of Fleisher's clientele, which also included NBA players Al Harrington and Chauncey Billups.

"We're thrilled, because [Fleisher] feels vindicated," said Gabriel Berg, who helped his father, David Berg of Manhattan firm Berg and Androphy, represent Fleisher. "It's been a real rough road the last three years, and to have eight strangers off the street agree with him is real vindication. So we're all relieved. We felt the jury did what was right and just."

Fleisher, who filed the lawsuit in December 1999, claimed Miller betrayed him by secretly signing clients while still employed at the company. Fleisher named 14 individuals (including 10 players) and four corporate defendants in his suit, and he originally sought more than $30 million in damages.

Fleisher's attorneys asked for a $14 million judgment in closing arguments, but Berg said he was satisfied with the final amount.

Also found liable were Assist Sports Management, a player representation firm set up by Miller, and Creation Management, the entertainment agency that owns 50 percent of Wilhelmina Models, which backed Assist Sports Management.

Paul Robbins, Miller's attorney, was unavailable for comment. The New York Times reported that Miller plans to appeal the decision.

Fleisher, who still represents a handful of lesser clients, was fired last year by Stephon Marbury.

Russell Adams is a writer in New York.

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