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Flo's Side of Lawsuit Against W. Saylor and Rofkin

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17 minutes ago, Billyhoyle said:

The article he wrote was his opinion on the ranking of athletes.  If he wrote a ranking for Flo 10 days earlier, and then wrote one for Rokfin 10 days later, how is that "content from flo."  That's him doing his job as a journalist at two different companies 10 days apart, with his opinion on the rankings not having changed in that time. 

And what's wrong with one company openly trying to recruit employees from another?  These are journalists, not people bringing over IP.  Flo can retain their writers by paying them more than Rokfin does.  

If he literally just took the article from Flo, I have a problem.  If it was just the rankings themselves and he wrote new abstracts, etc, I think that's less problematic.

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20 minutes ago, Perry said:

Is Willie actually an employee of Rokfin or is he an independent guy using the platform and paying a residual back? If he is a 1099 I can't see a case for Flo to say that no coverage or discussion on anything wrestling related is allowed as part of his non-compete, that sounds 100% bogus. Now, if he was offering streaming services of matches I could see more of a case as that is the core of Flo's business model.

I’m wondering this as well (haven’t read the doc yet though).

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27 minutes ago, VakAttack said:

It depends on what actually happened.  If Flo's allegations are true, I think what Willie did is crappy and I would sue, also.  If they're false, then I agree with you, it's a crappy thing by Flo.  If it's somewhere in the middle (as is often the case) I'll tend to side with the little guy over the corporation.

It would also set a dangerous precedent if they don’t sue, basically everybody else could quit and steal content and Flo wouldn’t have a leg to stand on because they let Willie do it.

i have a lot of experience with non-compete covenants and I don’t think it looks good for Willie. He immediately broke the agreement. Also, the geographic defense of it being too broad doesn’t hold water. Willie could spend a year writing a book or doing behind the scenes work until the agreement expires. Instead he stole content and start d competing.

Also, discovery could be really interesting if he approached other Flo employees about going with him. He seems like a guy who would do that.

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22 minutes ago, Perry said:

Is Willie actually an employee of Rokfin or is he an independent guy using the platform and paying a residual back? If he is a 1099 I can't see a case for Flo to say that no coverage or discussion on anything wrestling related is allowed as part of his non-compete, that sounds 100% bogus. Now, if he was offering streaming services of matches I could see more of a case as that is the core of Flo's business model.

They're paying him, independent contractor or not.  I don't think that's a huge factor in the legal analysis here.

There are two central legal quesitons that I see at play here:

 

1.  Can Willie work for Rofkin?  I think the answer will be yes, especially based on the other information offered by BAC and potdangerous re: Texas' enforcement of non-competes.

2.  Is Willie allowed to directly take content off the Flo site and post it on Rofkin?  I think the answer is likely no.

Which likely means, in the end, Willie will make an apology of some sort, pay some sum of money, and be allowed to create for Rofkin unencumbered by Flo.

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1 minute ago, VakAttack said:

They're paying him, independent contractor or not.  I don't think that's a huge factor in the legal analysis here.

There are two central legal quesitons that I see at play here:

 

1.  Can Willie work for Rofkin?  I think the answer will be yes, especially based on the other information offered by BAC and potdangerous re: Texas' enforcement of non-competes.

2.  Is Willie allowed to directly take content off the Flo site and post it on Rofkin?  I think the answer is likely no.

Which likely means, in the end, Willie will make an apology of some sort, pay some sum of money, and be allowed to create for Rofkin unencumbered by Flo.

Willie should have handled this before quitting, that’s how it’s usually done and it avoids lawsuits.

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45 minutes ago, Billyhoyle said:

For the copyright info:  I get that you can't steal articles when you leave a company.  But I'm saying he wrote two separate articles.  It's just that the content of the articles didn't change because his opinion of the rankings hadn't changed in the time that he wrote the two articles.  

If what you are saying is correct then I agree it wouldn't be a copyright issue, as it is newly-created content -- e.g. rankings as of that date, as opposed to the last date he was with Flo, even if similar or identical.  But what Flo seems to be saying is that it was literally downloaded and copied.  That's a technical copyright violation, but as mentioned previously, its inconsequential in the rankings context, as its gone in a week.  Probably not a great move to use the same title of his rankings that he used when he was with Flo (if that is true), as any protectable rights would below to Flo -- although here, I highly doubt those rights are protectable, as short phrases aren't copyrightable and it probably isn't well known enough to be a trademark issue.  Either way its kind of a non-issue since Flo didn't bring any intellectual property claims, just the non-compete issue, plus a claim against Rokfin for interfering.  

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4 minutes ago, buckshot1969 said:

It would also set a dangerous precedent if they don’t sue, basically everybody else could quit and steal content and Flo wouldn’t have a leg to stand on because they let Willie do it.

i have a lot of experience with non-compete covenants and I don’t think it looks good for Willie. He immediately broke the agreement. Also, the geographic defense of it being too broad doesn’t hold water. Willie could spend a year writing a book or doing behind the scenes work until the agreement expires. Instead he stole content and start d competing.

Also, discovery could be really interesting if he approached other Flo employees about going with him. He seems like a guy who would do that.

This is about Rokfin, because noone gives two dookies about the wrestling media industry. They're afraid that Martin is recreating Flosports under the cloak of a bizarre cryptocurrency-based media platform company. Honestly he probably is, but I don't think Flo has much of a case in this lawsuit. They should focus on making their team happy and building their business and outcompeting Rokfin. That's the only way they can win. I am certain that in private many Flowrestling employees are not feeling great. If I were them I'd be looking for my next move...and it wouldn't be Rokfin, lol. There are lots of great jobs in Austin.

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30 minutes ago, potdangerous said:

This is about Rokfin, because noone gives two dookies about the wrestling media industry. They're afraid that Martin is recreating Flosports under the cloak of a bizarre cryptocurrency-based media platform company. Honestly he probably is, but I don't think Flo has much of a case in this lawsuit. They should focus on making their team happy and building their business and outcompeting Rokfin. That's the only way they can win. I am certain that in private many Flowrestling employees are not feeling great. If I were them I'd be looking for my next move...and it wouldn't be Rokfin, lol. There are lots of great jobs in Austin.

My guess is that Flo employees aren't worried about the company's viability and their jobs. The site has built up a very strong content infrastructure which it continues to expand.  Even if Rofkin is successful, which I'm not confident about, that doesn't mean Flo would tank.  

Although companies always want to protect their contracts and advantages, I think it's more likely that the suit is as much personal as dollars and cents.  These guys were all close and a breakup like that, particularly one where things weren't ironed out before departure and then was followed by a public insult war, can play a big part in triggering legal festivities. 

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Flo is turning Willie into a Don Quixote character and keeping him in the conversation. They would probably be better served to let him fade away. But this probably has more to do with Martin than Willie. Willie is just caught in the middle. As non-competes are very hard to win, Flo is more than likely trying to financially strangle him. Hopefully he has made some good lawyer friends along the way...but I bet they're not from Cornell!

Edited by 82bordeaux
spelling

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9 hours ago, VakAttack said:

They're paying him, independent contractor or not.  I don't think that's a huge factor in the legal analysis here.

There are two central legal quesitons that I see at play here:

 

1.  Can Willie work for Rofkin?  I think the answer will be yes, especially based on the other information offered by BAC and potdangerous re: Texas' enforcement of non-competes.

2.  Is Willie allowed to directly take content off the Flo site and post it on Rofkin?  I think the answer is likely no.

Which likely means, in the end, Willie will make an apology of some sort, pay some sum of money, and be allowed to create for Rofkin unencumbered by Flo.

I imagine it would very much be a factor. It would be like publishing content on youtube and making money off the ad revenues. You are getting paid by the platform but you're not an employee of google by any means in that circumstance. Again, that is assuming that willie is a 1099 and ofc depends on how the courts look at rokfin as an online business

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10 hours ago, buckshot1969 said:

Willie should have handled this before quitting, that’s how it’s usually done and it avoids lawsuits.

Best comment of this thread. 
 

This is really about Flo sending a message that you can’t just bail and start competing with impunity. Will Flo get some large payout? No. Will Flo even win the lawsuit? Who knows, but probably not. Will Willie then “win”? No, lawsuits are unpleasant to deal with and require significant legal expense. Will those expenses be covered by Flo if Flo loses? Almost surely not, since the contract was clearer violated and it’s Texas, not California, so there is a very reasonable basis for the lawsuit. Will others think twice about immediately violating a contract, enforceable or not, that they signed with Flo going forward? No question, and that’s what this is about. 

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I am interested to see if the response is filed by a single or multiple lawyers.

This will tell us if Martin/Rofkin are likely footing the bill for Willie's legal defense or if he has to pay for it himself.

I also hope that Willie was smart enough to carry a personal umbrella insurance policy to cover lawsuits filed against him.  Everyone should have one.  Premiums for up to $1MM are very affordable and provide great peace of mind.  I am sure Martin has one, probably for much higher coverage than $1MM.

According the doc I posted, the hearing is scheduled for 12/18, so we should see the response to the suit before too long.

 

 

 

Edited by Crash

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1 hour ago, Perry said:

I imagine it would very much be a factor. It would be like publishing content on youtube and making money off the ad revenues. You are getting paid by the platform but you're not an employee of google by any means in that circumstance. Again, that is assuming that willie is a 1099 and ofc depends on how the courts look at rokfin as an online business

I just read the doc.  Based on that, I think it doesn't matter.  Quote from the non-compete:

Quote

For a period equal to one year after the date that my Service with the Company is
terminated, for any reason, I will not, directly or indirectly, (i) compete with the Company in the
region and/or cities in which I am responsible for conducting business for the Company on the
date of the termination of my Service with the Company (“Geographic Territory”), or (ii) in the
Geographic Territory, participate in the ownership, management, operation, financing, or control
of, any person, corporation, firm, or other entity that is engaged in the Business of the Company
in the region and/or cities in which I am responsible for conducting business for the Company on
the date of termination of my Service with the Company (“Competitor”) or (iii) in the Geographic
Territory, perform, as an employee, consultant, or otherwise, the same or similar duties I have or
will perform as an employee of Company for a Competitor.

That said, I think others mentioned that "the region and/or cities in which I am responsible for conducting business" is pretty much the whole country, maybe even world.  Could that even be enforceable?

Also, I found it interesting that the suit is saying he is "blatantly violating his one-year noncompete both by competing in the “sports video industry."   Is what he's doing now really in the "sports video industry"?

 

 

Edited by 1032004
sorry, last 2 sentences shouldn't be part of quote

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57 minutes ago, 1032004 said:

I just read the doc.  Based on that, I think it doesn't matter.  Quote from the non-compete:

That said, I think others mentioned that "the region and/or cities in which I am responsible for conducting business" is pretty much the whole country, maybe even world.  Could that even be enforceable?

Also, I found it interesting that the suit is saying he is "blatantly violating his one-year noncompete both by competing in the “sports video industry."   Is what he's doing now really in the "sports video industry"?

In short, it could be enforceable, but according to some people who claim to have knowledge of Texas' treatment of non-competes (and I have no reason to doubt them or any inclination to do research on a topic that has little bearing on my life), it likely will not.

This could all be moot if there was any sort of consideration given, although you would think that would be reflected in the contract (i.e. a severance package).

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1 hour ago, wrestlingnerd said:

Best comment of this thread. 
 

This is really about Flo sending a message that you can’t just bail and start competing with impunity. Will Flo get some large payout? No. Will Flo even win the lawsuit? Who knows, but probably not. Will Willie then “win”? No, lawsuits are unpleasant to deal with and require significant legal expense. Will those expenses be covered by Flo if Flo loses? Almost surely not, since the contract was clearer violated and it’s Texas, not California, so there is a very reasonable basis for the lawsuit. Will others think twice about immediately violating a contract, enforceable or not, that they signed with Flo going forward? No question, and that’s what this is about. 

Spot on.  As someone else said, non-competes dont hold water here in Texas.  However, they typically do get enforcement on defamation/original content/etc.  I assume lots of cease and desist letters flew around, usually thats the end of it.  There will be a settlement, probably not $, just willie saying "ok, ill quit bashing flo, etc...".

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18 minutes ago, swing said:

Spot on.  As someone else said, non-competes dont hold water here in Texas.  However, they typically do get enforcement on defamation/original content/etc.  I assume lots of cease and desist letters flew around, usually thats the end of it.  There will be a settlement, probably not $, just willie saying "ok, ill quit bashing flo, etc...".

Good news (we know from another thread) Willie did not steal all the wonky stuff when he departed.  :)

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3 hours ago, Fletcher said:

Some legit. legal analysis in this thread - I work with noncompetes regularly and the factors flagged by BAC, etc. are spot on. Will have to reevaluate my thinking that everyone on this board is an idiot.

I reserve the right to be considered an idiot and will have you served if necessary to do so.  

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