Detroit Lions, Inc. v. Argovitz
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
580 F. Supp. 542 (1984)
Billy Sims (plaintiff) was a star running back who played for the NFL’s Detroit Lions (plaintiff). As Sims’ agent, Jerry Argovitz (defendant), was negotiating a new contract for Sims and the Lions, Argovitz became part owner and president of the Houston Gamblers, a team in the United States Football League (USFL). Sims was not aware of Argovitz’s new role. During Argovitz’s negotiations with the Lions, Argovitz asked one of his partners in the Gamblers, Bernard Lerner, to negotiate a contract with Sims and the Houston team. Lerner admittedly did not know much about football. In the Gamblers’ organization, only Argovitz knew the value of Sims’ services. The Lions had offered a five-year contract worth $3.5 million, an interest free loan, an injury guarantee, and $400,000 to purchase an annuity. Thereafter, Sims and his wife traveled to Houston to negotiate with Lerner and the Gamblers believing that the Lions were not negotiating in good faith. Lerner offered Sims a five-year contract worth $3.5 million, three years of skill and injury guarantees, and a $500,000 loan at an interest rate of one percent over prime. It was from the loan that Argovitz planned to receive the $100,000 balance of his fee for acting as an agent in negotiating a contract with the Gamblers, his own team. Argovitz and his associate took Sims and his wife into another room to discuss the offer. Although Argovitz asked Sims whether he wanted to see if the Lions would match the offer, Sims, whose ego was bruised by the Lions, did not believe they would. During the negotiations, Argovitz received a call from a Lions representative, but declined to speak with him. Sims accepted Lerner’s offer. Subsequently, Argovitz asked Sims to sign certain papers which Argovitz said were a part of Sims’ contract. Among the papers was a waiver of any claim that Sims might have against Argovitz for his breach of fiduciary duty. Sims and the Lions sued Argovitz to have his contract with the Gamblers declared unenforceable.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (DeMascio, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 726,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 726,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,700 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.