Checking in With the Tfue v. FaZe Clan Esports Lawsuit: A Suspension?

December 10, 2019

There’s been movement in the Tfue v. FaZe Clan esports lawsuit. Representatives for the popular gamer and FaZe Clan met in Los Angeles Superior Court last week for an early-round motion hearing. Let’s catch up.

Esports Lawsuit Background: Star Gamer Sued Team over “Oppressive” Contract”

Earlier this year, Fortnite phenom, Turner “Tfue” Tenney sued his multi-channel network, FaZe Clan, over his contract.

Tenney maintains that the agreement is “grossly oppressive, onerous, and one-sided” because it allows the club to take 80% of his earnings and violates the Talent Agencies Act. Conversely, FaZe Clan contends that it only collected about $60,000 in contractual fees from the multi-million-dollar gamer.

Tenney initially filed with the California Labor Commissioner, as is the procedure for Talent Agencies Act claims. In response, FaZe Clan countersued in New York because the contract stipulates New York as the governing jurisdiction for any disputes arising from the agreement.

A district judge in California, Patricia Nieto, heard the arguments.

Esports Lawsuit Update: Tfue’s Legal Team Ecstatic over Preliminary Motion Ruling

After considering both arguments, Judge Patricia Nieto ruled that:

  • Rights under the Talent Agencies Act are “unwaivable,” and Tfue is entitled to California legal protections regardless of the litigatory jurisdiction;
  • The forum in the agreement is “unquestionably mandatory.”

In Nieto’s words:

“The TAA was created for a public purpose, and Plaintiff, therefore, cannot waive these rights through the forum selection clause. Tenney was a California resident while performing under the contract for several months. The public purpose of the TAA would be defeated if allowed to be waived by individuals.”

The judge put the California claims on hold until the parties resolve the New York claims. However, that allows Tenney to argue, in New York, that California law applies to the case. Nieto is also making FaZe Clan show that the New York court “would provide the same or greater rights than California, or the foreign forum will apply California law on the claims at issue.”

When asked, Tenney’s lawyer said that they were “extremely pleased with this decision, ecstatic really,” and that “all [they] want is for California law to apply to this dispute and the violations of the TAA.”

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