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SBJ/March 31 - April 6, 2003/Labor Agents
Suit against Octagon tossed
Published March 31, 2003
A judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by agent Frank Bauer against Octagon claiming that the company's football agents illegally caused 2002 No. 1 NFL draft pick David Carr to fire him.
Elizabeth LaPorte, magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, dismissed Bauer's two legal claims of unfair competition and intentional interference with contract, finding there was a lack of evidence.
"We are pleased that the court agreed there was never any evidence that Octagon ever did anything to interfere with his relationship with Carr," said Mike Sullivan, Octagon's director of football and now the agent for Houston Texans quarterback Carr. "The lawsuit should never have been filed."
James Morris, attorney for Bauer, said, "We're very disappointed in the court's ruling, and we are evaluating our options."
The case stems from Carr's hiring and then firing of Bauer in January 2002, when the Fresno State quarterback was projected to be one of the top picks in the draft. Carr later signed with Sullivan, who negotiated a seven-year, $58 million deal for Carr with the Texans.
In January 2002, Sheryl Carr told SportsBusiness Journal that her son fired Bauer after receiving an anonymous letter in the mail that contained an old news article about a former business partner of Bauer's being indicted in a murder case. Bauer had nothing to do with the slaying.
David Carr, in a deposition taken after the case was filed, said he never received negative information about Bauer in the mail, but told his mother that he had, according to court papers. Carr testified that he signed with Bauer because his parents liked him but later regretted the decision because he felt it wasn't his choice.
He testified that he told her about the letter because, "I needed some concrete evidence because my mom was so emotionally involved with Frank, I felt I needed some evidence to tell my mom this is why I did it."
LaPorte wrote, "Although there is conflicting evidence as to whether Carr received an anonymous letter containing information about Bauer, there is no evidence that defendants [Octagon or its agents] sent the letter."
LaPorte also found that Octagon agents began negotiating with Carr at his request after he fired Bauer. "No reasonable jury could find that defendants induced Carr to terminate his contract with Bauer," he said.