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Court reverses summary judgment in mixed martial arts TV suit

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A dispute over idea misappropriation and civil conversion involving the origin of televised mixed martial arts through HDNET Fights was sent back to the trial court Friday. The Court of Appeals ruled that Marion Superior Court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of a sanctioning body that had suggested the development of a similar idea was in error.

Five years ago, the North American Boxing Council and cable and satellite channel HDNet exchanged a series of emails about the possible future development of weekly broadcasts of a mixed martial arts fight series. The parties didn’t enter into a contract, but the boxing council considered the information in the emails a protectable commercial idea.

The NABC sued in 2008 after HDNet owner Mark Cuban formed HDNet Fights. NABC alleged eight counts: idea misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of oral contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, misappropriation of trade secrets, conversion of trade secrets and promissory estoppel.

Marion Superior Judge Thomas Carroll granted summary judgment to NABC on its claims of idea misappropriation and conversion of trade secrets, holding that the claims were not preempted by the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

The appeals court ruled the trial court found in favor of a narrow reading of Indiana Code 24-2-3-1(b) that subverted legislative intent.

“NABC’s interpretation of the IUTSA would encourage piece meal litigation and would thus fail to implement the legislature’s intended goal of uniformity. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court’s summary judgment order is erroneous as a matter of law,” Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote in reversing the court’s summary judgment for idea misappropriation.

Darden wrote on reversing the second finding of summary judgment that “NABC’s civil conversion allegation does not delineate a criminal act; it merely outlines another allegation of civil misappropriation of NABC’s ideas. Thus, the conversion action is not saved by the criminal law exception to the IUTSA’s preemption provision.”

 

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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