Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cincinnati Bengals v. Bergey case brief

Cincinnati Bengals v. Bergey case brief summary
453 F.Supp. 129 (1974)

Plaintiff, a national football league (NFL) team, brought an action for a preliminary and permanent injunction against defendants, a linebacker and world football league (WFL) teams, to prohibit the linebacker from abiding by a contract he signed with one of the WFL teams and to prevent the WFL teams from raiding the ranks of the NFL team by signing players under pre-existing NFL contracts.


  • The court made findings of facts and conclusions of law as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 52. The court determined that the focus of the NFL team's claim was its right to full performance under its player contracts had been undermined. 
  • The Court found that the recruiting activities of the WFL teams were done for the purpose of furthering their own interests and that there was no motive to undermine the NFL team. 
  • The court further found that the linebacker's actions in signing with the WFL was not going to have a detrimental effect on the performance or player morale of the NFL team as a whole. 
  • The court concluded that it was unable to find that the linebacker's signing of a contract with the WFL was going to have an adverse affect the team. 
  • The court held that it was not unlawful for a WFL team, during the time when the linebacker was under a valid contract with the NFL team, to negotiate a contract for his services, which were to commence after his NFL contract had expired. 
  • The court further concluded that the NFL team had failed to show that it was injured by the offer of contracts by the WFL while players were still under contract with NFL teams.


The court ordered that the NFL team's motion for a temporary injunction against defendants was denied.

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