NACL Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against USACA
The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) is facing a legal battle after North American Cricket League - Twenty20 Inc. (NACL) filed a civil action against them following attempts to set up an official Twenty20 league in the USA.
The news comes soon after the USACA had inked an historic deal with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) that is aimed to nurture the sport in America, one of ICC’s main thrust areas.
The partnership is set to establish a newly created entity, which will hold a majority of the commercial rights to cricket in the United States, including potentially lucrative Twenty20 rights and the ability to stage a franchise-based T20 league.
Under the new partnership, New Zealand will play a fixed number of games in the United States. Moreover, the New Zealand players will be available to participate in any future Twenty20 leagues.
"North American Cricket League – Twenty20, Inc. (“NACL”) has filed a multi-million dollar civil action against the United States of America Cricket Association, Inc. (USACA) in connection with the NACL’s attempts to promote and organize an official USACA-sanctioned premier level Twenty20-format professional cricket league in the United States," an NACL statement read.
Plans for an American 'version' of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament have been afoot for some time, with plans for an 'American Premier League' mooted in 2009. Things had been moving positively for USACA after partnerships with New Zealand Cricket were signed, which saw Sri Lanka visit the States for a Twenty20 series against New Zealand in which the USA also took on Jamaica.
They were also invited to join the top six Associate and Affiliate nations in the qualifying event for the 2010 ICC World Twenty20, where they finished third in their group, taking a victory over Scotland but losing to Afghanistan and Ireland.
However, this latest legal action threatens to knock them back, as they were when when the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended them in 2007 following internal disputes. That suspension was eventually lifted in April 2008 although the team was relegated to the lowest tier of the World Cricket League.
The statement from NACL continued: "Among nine causes of action, the complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, promissory estoppel, misappropriation of proprietary business information, theft of trade secrets, unjust enrichment, unfair competition, and claims under the Rackateer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) based on USACA and it’s board members’ acts of mail and wire fraud as part of a fraudulent scheme to extract money from NACL and its investors. The civil action was filed in New York County Supreme Court, in New York, NY. NACL has retained The Law Offices of Paul J. Giacomo Jr., The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 37th Floor, NY, NY to represent NACL in this matter.
"According to the complaint, NACL and USACA entered into negotiations for an agreement for NACL to promote and organize an official USACA-sanctioned premier level Twenty20-format professional cricket league in the United States. The parties signed an Interim Agreement that granted NACL an exclusive period of negotiations during which USACA was contractually bound to cease negotiations with any third parties for the same rights that it was negotiating to license to NACL. Instead, unbeknownst to NACL, USACA had already entered into a similar preliminary agreement with at least one third party in violation of the Interim Agreement. Additionally, while NACL continued to negotiate a master agreement in good faith, USACA had no intention of honoring the terms of the Interim Agreement and engaged in a fraudulent scheme to extract money from NACL and its investors. The complaint further alleges that while NACL was negotiating with USACA in good faith, USACA entered into additional agreements with third parties from which USACA also accepted large cash payments for the licensing of the same commercial rights.
"NACL alleges that its directors attended numerous meetings with members of USACA’s board of directors, who repeatedly stated at these meetings, over the phone and in email correspondence that it was negotiating in good faith and that it was not negotiating with any third parties to license a USACA sanctioned Twenty20-format professional cricket league in the United States. The complaint further alleges that USACA, by these fraudulent statements and communications, induced NACL to enter into the Interim Agreement, make substantial monetary payments and donations, and disclose its proprietary business information and trade secrets which USACA misappropriated to its own benefit in violation of confidentiality provisions."
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