Floyd Mayweather Sues New Orleans Wine Bar for Ruining his Reputation and Profiting Off His Face
By Bryanna Fissori
The Mayweather legal team is hard at work once, on one of those rare occasions where they will be preparing as the plaintiff instead of the defendant.
On Thursday, February 7, 2013 Mayweather filed a claim with the Nevada District Court against New Orleans bar and nightclub “Wine Bistro, LLC,” and promoter “2nd To None Entertainment, LLC.” The cause of action is Trademark Infringement.
The case arises because of false advertisement made by the Wine Bistro using Mayweather’s name and photo on posters and flyers stating that he and “The Money Team” would be present at the business as Guest Hosts for a Super Bowl kickoff party on Friday, February 1. The Money Team is a group of high profile friends of Mayweather’s including, but not limited to Justin Bieber, Li’l Kim, 50 Cent and Miss Jackson.
In the legal complaint, Floyd Mayweather contends that he did not know of the party or the rumors that he would be there until he was made aware of it on January 30, which was two days prior to the event. It also states that on that date, cease and desist letters were sent to both the Wine Bistro and the promoter (2nd To None) by overnight mail and email. Tickets already had been and were being sold for the event ranging in price from $50 to $100.
On the day of the event, the promoter conveyed to Mayweather’s legal counsel that he “booked” the boxer through a third party, but the booking contract has yet to be provided for review. If a third party is identified, they will undoubtedly be added to the suit and likely face a suit from not only Mayweather, but the 2nd To None and Wine Bistro as well. Mayweather contends that his appearance at such an event would range in the neighborhood of $100,000 to secure.
The exact causes of action asserted by the Mayweather legal counsel are:
1. Unfair Competition under 15 U.S.C.§ 1125(a)
2. Violations of Rights of Publicity Under N.R.S. §597.770 et seq
3. Common Law Trademark Infringement
4. Deceptive Trade Practices under N.R.S 598.0903, et seq
5. Unjust Enrichment
The majority of Mayweather’s assertions revolve around concerns that the Wine Bistro and 2nd To None financially benefited from wrongful use of his name and likeness, that the false representation was damaging to Mayweather’s reputation and thus his ability to secure other similar endeavors. People who may have wanted to contract him for similar events will think he is unreliable. The complaint also makes clear that now he has to pay his legal team to take care of cleaning up the mess.
They are seeking “compensatory, consequential, punitive and/or statutory damages in an amount determined at trial,” as well as injunctive relief to cease any further use of Mayweather’s name or likeness, attorney’s fees and whatever else the court may feel like giving them.
Mayweather does not need to succeed in all five counts to obtain award damages, and without the completion of discovery, some areas, such as the actual monetary benefit to the defendants, cannot be fully taken into consideration. The addition of a third party booking agent may change the degree of liability placed on the current defendants.
Currently, all of the photos and promotional ads regarding the Mayweather Super Bowl Kickoff Party have been removed from the Wine Bistro facebook page. That being said, it is more than likely that the publicity from being sued by “The best pound per pound fighter in the world and the greatest technical fighter of all time,” as stated in the Mayweather’s complaint, is going to boost the business’s visibility. It is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and few know that better than Floyd Mayweather.