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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lawsuit Against Bodog Dropped

 

A lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Bodog Entertainment Group and related parties by BlueMoon Entertainment of L.A. was dismissed on Monday. BlueMoon also dropped its lawsuit against Fox Sports Net (FSN). The lawsuit against both Bodog Entertainment Group (and related defendants) and Fox Sports Net was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that BlueMoon cannot later re-assert its claims. "My client takes accusations of this type extremely seriously and will fight to whatever extent the law allows to ensure that frivolous claims brought against it are dismissed," said Bodog Entertainment Group attorney James Nguyen, a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP and co-chair of the firm's Entertainment & Media Industry Team. "Bodog Entertainment Group wants to make clear that entities who decide to pursue litigation against it for capricious reasons or to try to get a quick nuisance value settlement payment will not be rewarded. My client believes the lawsuit by BlueMoon Entertainment was frivolous, and will vigorously defend itself from such baseless litigation. The case brought against Costa Rican-based Bodog and U.S.-based Fox Sports Net had no merit and it is telling that BlueMoon Entertainment abandoned the lawsuit." Filed in April 2006 in Los Angeles Superior Court, BlueMoon Entertainment's lawsuit alleged that Bodog Entertainment Group and its CEO Calvin Ayre were in breach of contract, breach of confidence and misappropriation of ideas in relation to Mr. Ayre's self-produced reality television series, which aired on Fox Sports Net (FSN). BlueMoon Entertainment claimed that it had proposed a similar show to Bodog Entertainment Group, though never had any written contract with Bodog Entertainment Group to produce any television program or to enter into any other business relationship together.

The Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker show was significantly different in numerous respects from the show proposal alleged by BlueMoon Entertainment. The only similarities were the involvement of Mr. Ayre and poker.

Immediately upon filing the suit in April, BlueMoon Entertainment sought a temporary restraining order to halt the broadcast of Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker on Fox Sports Net. But BlueMoon Entertainment lost that effort, when a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled against it at the TRO hearing. After that loss, BlueMoon Entertainment sought to extract a significant monetary payment from Bodog Entertainment Group, which was flatly rejected because Bodog Entertainment Group had no liability.

"This is just yet another case of a producer coming out of the woodworks to file a baseless lawsuit against a successful entertainment project because the producer somehow, somewhere met someone involved with the project," Nguyen said. "In reality, BlueMoon Entertainment raced to the courthouse to file this lawsuit before the Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker series was aired on Fox Sports Network, and therefore without even knowing what the show looked like. Before actually seeing the Bodog program, how could BlueMoon Entertainment reasonably believe that its supposed show proposal was strikingly similar to Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker? The answer is BlueMoon could not have, and my client believes that shows the lawsuit was baseless to begin with."

On Monday, BlueMoon representatives appeared in court and voluntarily dismissed the case with prejudice, thus agreeing not to pursue any more litigation against either Mr. Ayre, any member of the Bodog Entertainment Group or Fox Sports Net in relation to the television series.

The fact that BlueMoon dismissed the lawsuit so quickly, without even requiring Bodog Entertainment Group S.A. to file a response to the complaint, just confirms the weakness in the case. Equally telling, is that BlueMoon filed its lawsuit, lost hearings in the case, and then promptly gave up on pursuing the case.

"It is very rare for a plaintiff to just voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit with prejudice so early in the case. That is a testament to the weakness in BlueMoon's legal position," Nguyen said.

Mr. Ayre and Bodog are not afraid to fight frivolous lawsuits, and will not settle frivolous claims just for efficiency's purposes. This lawsuit was baseless and appears to have been a cash-grab attempt.

The Bodog Entertainment Group continues to expand its digital entertainment division with a list of new television shows slated to kick off in the fall. The Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker television series, which showcased Mr. Ayre's billionaire philanthropist lifestyle, aired on Fox Sports Net (FSN) in spring of 2006.

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