The A+J litigation team obtained a significant victory for its clients, Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Group, LLC, in the form of a dismissal with prejudice of all claims brought against them by Nerlens Noel, a former player for the Dallas Mavericks and a current player for the Detroit Pistons. Paul represents top NBA talent, including LeBron James, and was Noel’s certified NBA player agent for over three years. In August 2021, Paul filed an arbitration grievance against Noel based on Noel’s failure to pay fees under their player-agent contract. In response, Noel sued Paul and Klutch in Texas state court, claiming that he suffered over $58 million in damages because of their conduct. Noel mainly complained that Paul wrongfully advised him to reject a multi-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks worth $70 million that Noel allegedly received in the summer of 2017, before Paul was Noel’s agent.
On behalf of Paul and Klutch, the A+J litigation team removed the case to federal court and filed a motion to dismiss Noel’s lawsuit based on an agreement to arbitrate all disputes in the player-agent contract as negotiated by Noel’s own union, the National Basketball Players Association (“NBPA”). The motion was supported by a declaration from Ron Klempner, who is currently General Counsel of the NBPA. Noel’s primary argument against enforcement of the arbitration provision revolved around the limitations period. Specifically, Noel argued that the 30-day period to file an arbitration grievance contained in the NBPA Regulations and incorporated into the player-agent contract was invalid and unenforceable because it effectively deprived Noel of his ability to pursue his claims. The Court disagreed with Noel and found the limitations period to be valid and enforceable.
On September 9, 2022, U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle entered an order granting A+J’s motion to dismiss, ordering Noel to arbitrate all claims against Paul and Klutch and dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice. The case is Nerlens Noel v. Richard Paul and Klutch Sports Group, LLC, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Civil Act. No. 3:21-cv-2485-B.