Lawyers are the butt of many jokes and plaintiff’s lawyers in particular often get an underserved bad rap. Not this time, however. Recent news out of the NBA begs the world to look down on my future profession because a lawyer is suing the San Antonio Spurs for resting its best players in a November game against the Miami Heat.
According to ESPN, Larry McGuinness filed a class-action suit in Miami-Dade County on Monday, stating Spurs coach Gregg Popovich “intentionally and surreptitiously” sent their best players home without the knowledge of the league, the team and the fans attending the Nov. 29 game against the Heat. McGuinness contends that he, as well as other fans, “suffered economic damages” as a result of paying a premium price for a ticket that shouldn’t cost more.
This whole debacle made news when the NBA overreacted to a non-issue and fined the Spurs $250,000 when Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green back to San Antonio, saying that he believed that resting his top players for their fourth game in five days was a smart decision.
Whether or not you agree with the NBA, no fan ever has a guarantee of seeing the players they want to see. How can a fan possibly predict injuries or suspensions? This guy paid for a ticket to a Heat game. He saw the Heat (with its own cast of stars) play. And he saw the Heat actually win. So what in the world is this guy upset about?
Well, he said the game was “”like going to Morton’s Steakhouse and paying $63 for porterhouse and they bring out cube steak.”
If I were the reserve Spurs players I’d turn around and sue McGuinness for calling me cube steak.
Have we lost our minds? Have we become so litigious that we are going to sue teams when our favorite players don’t get enough playing time? Maybe McGuinness received an added benefit of watching some up and coming San Antonio stars whom he otherwise would have never known about. He still got to see NBA action and a hometown team victory. Yet this jackal is clogging an already crowded Miami-Dade County docket.
On a serious note, though, McGuinness’ publicity stunt could actually be a violation of Florida’s Rules of Professional Responsibility. Florida Rule 4-3.1 states,
“A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.”
If this lawsuit isn’t frivolous then I don’t know what is. Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices law is fairly vague so perhaps there is wiggle room for this lawsuit to be safely filed under the rules of Professional Responsibility, but I do not see how it will survive summary judgment. Title XXXIII, Chapter 501, Section 204 only states that
(1) Unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.
Resting your best players does not appear to be an “unconscionable” act or even an “unfair” one. Heck, it allowed the Heat to win. I can only imagine the lawsuits McGuinness would have filed against the Heat had they lost.