Publications Cover Haynes and Boone’s Representation on NFL in Fantasy Football Appeal

03/11/2019

Haynes and Boone, LLP Partners Anne M. Johnson and Thad Behrens, Associate Andrew Guthrie and Partner Charlie M. Jones are representing the National Football League in an appeal of a suit involving Tony Romo’s company, Fan Expo LLC., which received coverage in Law360 and The Texas Lawbook.

Here is an excerpt from Law360:

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS football analyst Tony Romo’s fantasy football company went into Texas' Fifth Court of Appeals on Wednesday to salvage its lawsuit against the NFL for intentionally interfering with its fantasy football convention by getting its title sponsor to pull out.

Fan Expo LLC asked the appeals court to dismiss a summary judgment ruling in favor of the National Football League, saying that the league placed a phone call to its 2016 title sponsor, EA Sports, discussing the NFL’s litigation with Fan Expo, and that the call led to the company's pulling out of the Los Angeles-based National Fantasy Football Convention.

Anne Johnson, an attorney for Haynes and Boone, LLP who represents the NFL, said one can’t say a phone call happened and then that EA breached its contract due to the call because a court isn’t empowered to surmise what happened.

“The NFL sees its trademark being used by the NFFC,” Johnson said. “The NFL asked for the logo to come down off the NFFC website because it wasn’t a sponsor of the event.”

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The Texas Lawbook also covered the case:

Wednesday’s oral arguments were connected to a second round of litigation between Fan Expo and the NFL related to two failed fantasy league events organized by Fan Expo.

The first dispute resulted in a win for the NFL after Fan Expo alleged the NFL illegally interfered with the 2015 event, which was to be held at The Venetian in Las Vegas, when the league told NFL players who planned to participate that it violated a gambling policy.

Former Dallas District Judge Carl Ginsberg dismissed the suit in June 2016, and last year, the Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed his decision.

The current dispute is tied to the failed 2016 event, which would have taken place at the Pasadena Convention Center in California.

Johnson said the NFL wanted their trademark to be taken off EA’s marketing materials because the league did not want to be associated with Fan Expo since they were courtroom opponents.

Although the EA ultimately withdrew its sponsorship from the 2016 event, Johnson argued it made that call at its own discretion – not under the influence of the NFL.

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