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Ventura v. Titan Sports, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
65 F.3d 725 (1995)


Facts

Ventura (plaintiff) was a wrestler and commentator for Titan Sports, Inc. (Titan) (defendant). Ventura was a public figure. In late 1984, Ventura entered into an oral contract as a commentator. Ventura stated that he entered into the oral contract to “broadcast wrestling.” There was no mention of videotape licenses or royalties. In early 1985, Ventura entered into an express agreement to wrestle for Titan. The express agreement addressed releasing videotaped performances of Ventura’s wrestling. In the fall of 1987, Ventura hired Bloom to negotiate Ventura’s commentating contract. Bloom inquired of Titan’s representative, Glover, whether Ventura could receive royalties for the dissemination of videotapes of his commentating. Glover informed Bloom that Titan had a policy not to pay royalties to commentators unless they were featured performers. This contract had to be renegotiated every year. Each year, Bloom would inquire about royalties and Glover would reiterate the policy. Ventura entered into the express commentating contract for three consecutive years. During that time, Titan consistently broke its stated policy, paying royalties to non-featured performers. In 1991, Ventura filed suit, seeking damages in quantum meruit for the royalties that he could have received due to Titan’s dissemination of Ventura’s videotaped performances. The trial court awarded damages to Ventura. Titan appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Magill, J.)

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Dissent (Arnold, J.)

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