AFL Philadelphia LLC, and Jon Bongiovi, Jr. v. Joseph E. Krause, Jr.

639 F. Supp. 2d 512 (2009)

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AFL Philadelphia LLC, and Jon Bongiovi, Jr. v. Joseph E. Krause, Jr.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
639 F. Supp. 2d 512 (2009)

SH

Facts

AFL Philadelphia LLC together with Jon Bongiovi (AFL Philadelphia) (plaintiffs) owned and operated the Philadelphia Soul, an arena football team based in Philadelphia that had competed in the Arena Football League since 2004. Joseph E. Krause, Jr. (defendant) was responsible for game and season ticket sales for the Philadelphia Soul. Krause alleged that he was hired as director of sales due to his well-known reputation in the sports and entertainment business and because he brought ongoing personal and business relationships to the position. Krause alleged that he used his solid reputation and ongoing relationships to promote the team and generate record-breaking ticket sales, which further enhanced his solid reputation among fans and season ticket holders. In December 2008, the Arena Football League suspended its 2009 season, and Krause was given a notice of termination. The decision to cancel the 2009 season was unpopular among the Philadelphia Soul’s fans, and the team faced strong public criticism for its failure to issue refunds to season ticket holders in a timely manner. At about that time, AFL Philadelphia sent an email to fans about the season’s cancellation that designated Krause’s Philadelphia Soul email address as the origin, even though Krause did not send the email and never authorized AFL Philadelphia to use his name or email address for the notification. AFL Philadelphia initiated suit for other reasons, but Krause counterclaimed for misappropriation of name, arguing AFL Philadelphia sought to trade on his good name and reputation among the fan base in using this false designation of email origin. AFL Philadelphia filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a valid claim on the ground that Krause failed to allege his name had been appropriated for commercial advantage.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baylson, J.)

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