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Jury Awards $2M to Sports USA in Breach of Contract Suit


Manatt, Phelps & Phillips secured a significant trial victory on behalf of Sports USA, an independent syndicator of radio live play-by-play. Manatt's Robert Platt, a senior litigation partner, represented Sports USA in Los Angeles Superior Court, where a jury ruled unanimously in favor of Sports USA in its multi-year breach of contract suit against Sun Broadcasting Group. The jury awarded Sports USA damages in excess of $2 million - the full amount requested - as compensation for Sun's breach of its advertising rep agreement with Sports USA.

"Sports USA is absolutely thrilled with today's outcome," said Platt. "Despite numerous, non-meritorious countersuits and claims, our client would not be deterred in seeking the recovery of amounts that it was rightfully owed. After fighting tirelessly on behalf of Sports USA for two years, we are happy that the jury arrived at this just conclusion."

Sports USA CEO Larry Kahn said, "Jason Bailey, the CEO of Sun, thought he could breach the contract by filing claims against us which had no factual or legal basis, but under no circumstance would we back down and drop our valid claims." Kahn added, "The jury's decision completely affirms what we have said since day one, that Sun breached the agreement and had no valid justification for doing so."

In September, 2015, Sports USA and Sun signed an advertising rep deal under which Sun agreed to serve as Sports USA's exclusive sales representative for the 2016 and 2017 college football seasons. In January, 2017, when Sun could not fulfill its financial obligations to Sports USA under the contract, Sun attempted to terminate the agreement and Sports USA filed the suit.

In a statement, SBG President Jason Bailey said, "We were shocked and saddened by the verdict reached by the jury in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Pacific West Radio Sports LLC (dba Sports USA) vs. Sun Broadcast Group Inc. Despite establishing wrongdoing by Sports USA from even before the inception of the agreement between the parties, the jury granted judgment in favor of Sports USA. The jury reached that verdict without the benefit of being able to consider key evidence of Sports USA's wrongdoing."

He continued, "Sun was barred from introducing that evidence at trial on hearsay grounds. We remain determined to see that justice is done, and plan to pursue every available avenue to overturn this result so that Sports USA's improper business practices are exposed and no other company falls victim. This verdict involves the old Sun, which has not traded since late 2018. It does not involve the current SBG owned and operated by Gen Media Partners."

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