MIAMI and WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A federal court in Miami has ruled that golfer Tiger Woods’ lawsuit against Christensen Shipyards, Ltd. will proceed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
and that an order enjoining Christensen from the unauthorized use of Woods’
name or photographs of his boat will remain in place.
Mr. Woods filed his rights-of-publicity suit against Christensen last
October in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The
suit alleges that the luxury yacht manufacturer, based in Vancouver,
improperly used Mr. Woods’ name, his wife’s name, and photographs of a yacht
built for Woods in connection with the advertising and marketing of
Christensen’s products. Mr. Woods also seeks injunctive relief from
After a November 8, 2004 hearing, Chief Judge Howard J. Zloch entered a
consent preliminary injunction prohibiting Christensen from improperly using
Woods’ name and photographs of the yacht to promote and advertise the company.
On December 8, 2004, Christensen filed a motion asking the Court to
dissolve the preliminary injunction and dismiss the case under a “forum
selection clause” in the yacht contract opting for Washington State Court to
resolve certain disputes. Ms. Woods is not a party to the yacht contract and
is not bound by the “forum selection clause.”
On September 23, 2005, after extensive briefing on the issues, Judge Zloch
denied Christensen’s request and held that “the result of enforcement of the
forum selection clause would be parallel proceedings in different forums on
the same set of facts and legal issues … The Court finds that enforcement
… would lead to … unreasonable and, arguably, unjust results …” In
other words, enforcement of the clause would result in the unreasonable
situation of requiring Woods to sue in Washington while his wife’s case would
proceed in Florida.
The Woods’ attorney, J. Douglas Baldridge of Washington, D.C.-based
Venable LLP, stated: “We firmly believe that the evidence will show
Christensen violated and exploited the Woods’ valuable rights for the
company’s own commercial gain. We are pleased with today’s well-reasoned
ruling and look forward to presenting the merits of this case in Florida where
the Woods reside.”
The case will remain in Florida and the preliminary injunction against
Christensen remains in tact.
Please let us know if you would like a copy of Judge Zloch’s latest ruling
or would like to speak with Mr. Baldridge.
As one of The American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has lawyers
practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation,
intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate,
institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the
U.S. and around the world from its base of operations in and around
Washington, D.C. For more, visit http://www.venable.com.