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World of Boxing LLC v. King
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
56 F. Supp. 3d 507 (2014)
Don King of Don King Productions (defendant) signed an agreement with World of Boxing (plaintiff) in which King promised to produce boxer Guillermo Jones for a match with boxer Denis Lebedev. Jones and Lebedev had boxed each other in a prior match, but the results had been vacated after Jones tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance known as furosemide. As required by a governing body, the parties’ agreement contained a provision requiring pre-bout drug testing before the new match. However, the agreement was silent about what would happen if either boxer tested positive for a banned substance. On the day of the agreed new boxing match, Jones again tested positive for furosemide, and the fight was canceled. World of Boxing sued King for breaching the parties’ contract. King argued that he could not be liable for breach because it was impossible for King to perform his contractual obligation—producing Jones for the match—due to events beyond King’s control. King testified that he had been shocked to learn that Jones had tested positive. Jones had been aware of the pre-bout drug testing, and King had sincerely believed that this knowledge would prevent Jones from taking banned substances.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Scheindlin, J.)
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