Professional Football Players Were Prohibited From Fan Convention in Las Vegas Due to League Gambling Policy

Texas employment cases vary substantially from one to another. Some cases deal with issues like sexual harassment or discrimination, while others pertain to wage and hour laws or allegations of retaliatory discharge following a work injury or whistleblowing incident.

Recently, a Texas appellate court ruled in a case in which the issue was whether a professional football league had the right to tell players that they were not allowed to participate in a “fantasy” fan convention because of the location of the event (a casino in Las Vegas), which the league alleged was prohibited under the league’s gambling policy for players and employees.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently reviewed by a Texas appeals court, the plaintiff was an organization that was created with the intention of facilitating interactions between professional football players and their fans. After the defendant football league declared that it would be a violation of its gambling policy for players to participate in a certain event planned by the plaintiff, the plaintiff brought suit in state court.

The judicial district court in Dallas County granted summary judgment to the league, thereby dismissing the plaintiff’s claims of tortious interference with a contract and tortious interference with a prospective business relationship. The league sought review from the appellate court.

The Court’s Decision

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas affirmed the trial court’s ruling. The plaintiff argued that the defendant had failed to prove how or why it had the authority to enforce the gambling policy, but the appellate court disagreed. The defendant attached a copy of the policy to its motion for summary judgment, and the document itself stated that it applied to all personnel employed by the defendant, including the football players whom the plaintiff contracted to appear at the event in controversy, which was to be held at a “casino or gambling-related establishment” prohibited under the league’s gambling policy.

The court also pointed out that the policy addressed the procedures for disciplining players who violated it. The plaintiff advocated for a reading of the policy that would require the league to wait until players actually committed a violation before taking action to enforce the policy, but the court concluded that the league’s more proactive approach of communicating with the players’ association in an attempt to avoid disciplinary issues later was permissible.

With regard to the plaintiff’s arguments regarding promissory estoppel, the court opined that there was insufficient evidence for the issue to proceed to the jury.

Experienced Dallas Employment Lawyers

It pays to take a proactive approach when it comes to business disputes. At the Dallas law firm of Key Harrington Barnes, we are here to help businesses of every size with a wide variety of legal issues. For an appointment to discuss a matter of concern to your business, call us now at 214-615-7925. Waiting until an employee, former employee, or third party files suit against your business or corporation before talking to an attorney can be a very costly mistake.

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