NCAA Declares Legal War|Against Electronic Arts

     ATLANTA (CN) – The NCAA sued Electronic Arts, claiming the video game-maker refuses to indemnify the NCAA for legal claims on the use of college athletes’ personae, and does not have enough insurance to do so.
     College athletes filed dozens of lawsuits against the NCAA and EA for use of their names and personae in video games without permission or compensation. Electronic arts settled a consolidated lawsuit for $40 million in September. The NCAA was not part of that settlement.
     “EA intends to pursue a settlement bar order that would purport to extinguish EA’s pre-existing contractual indemnification obligations to the NCAA,” the NCAA says in its 38-page complaint in Fulton County State Court.
     “This anticipatory repudiation constitutes a breach of EA’s contractual duties to indemnify and hold harmless the NCAA in relation to currently pending third-party claims, including for attorneys’ fees that the NCAA has already incurred in defending against those claims.”
     In addition, the NCAA claims, “EA breached its contractual duty to maintain liability insurance sufficient to provide this indemnity to the NCAA.”
     The NCAA also sued the Collegiate Licensing Co., claiming it breached contract and fiduciary duties, as the NCAA’s agent.
     The NCAA seeks declaratory judgment, indemnification, access to records, and wants EA estopped “from discharging its contractual duties that it owes to the NCAA by virtue of any settlement agreement between EA and any third parties that would purport to extinguish contractual obligations, including for indemnification and attorneys’ fees, owed to the NCAA.”
     It also seeks damages for breach of contract, failure to supervise, breach of fiduciary duty, and self-dealing during settlement.
     The National Collegiate Athletic Association is represented by Leah Ward Sears with Schiff Hardin. Last week, a federal judge certified the class of athletes suing the NCAA over their image rights.

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