Canelo's Legal Team Respond To DAZN's Request To Have Action Return To Federal Court

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and his legal team have responded to the action calling for their ongoing multimillion-dollar lawsuit to return to federal court.

Attorneys for Alvarez and SA Holiday Inc. have filed an amended Notice of Related Civil Cases, coming two business days after DAZN Media Inc.—one of several companies named in the original complaint—filed a separate action for a Notice of Removal from Los Angeles Superior Court on October 8, thus generating a new case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The notice submitted by Alvarez’s side calls for both cases to be assigned to and heard in the same court.

“Pursuant to Central District of California Local Rule 83-1.2.1 et seq. Plaintiffs Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan and SA Holiday, Inc., hereby provide notice that this action, as removed from Los Angeles Superior Court, is effectively a refiling of Alvarez et al. v. DAZN North America Inc., et al., and hereby request reassignment of this case to the Honorable Percy Anderson,” Gregory Smith, attorney for The Maloney Firm stated on Tuesday as part of a four-page amended notice, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com.

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Mexico’s Alvarez (53-1-2, 36KOs) originally filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California on September 8, alleging breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, negligent interference with contract; fraud and concealment; and breach of fiduciary duty. The three-division champ is seeking damages of at least $280 million, the remaining balance on his contract with Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) for services provided to DAZN-USA upon their record-breaking 11-fight, $365 million deal reached in October 2018.  

DAZN North America, Inc., DAZN Media Inc., DAZN US LLC., Perform Investment Limited (now DAZN Limited), Golden Boy Promotions LLC, Golden Boy Promotions Inc. and Oscar de la Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter are all named as defendants.

The case was presented to the Honorable Judge Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court, who dismissed the case without prejudice on September 11 due to lack of jurisdiction, though with room for an amended filing to be completed by no later than close of business September 28.

Such steps were taken within that time frame, but with the case instead filed in state court with the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. The federal case remained in chambers with Judge Anderson.

The law firm of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC, representing DAZN Media Inc., filed a Notice of Removal to Federal Court on October 8 in response to the active case, citing Diversity Jurisdiction as grounds for removal, alleging the “action satisfies the diversity requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), because the matter is between citizens of different states and citizens of foreign states, with citizens of the United States on either side of the action.”

Alvarez is a citizen of Mexico; DAZN Media, Inc. is a principal business in and a citizen of the State of New York while parent company DAZN Limited (nee Perform Investment Limited, as named in the complaint) is a business entity organized under the laws of the United Kingdom, with its principal places of business in London, England and the State of New York.

The filing by DAZN Media, Inc.—identified as “First Action” in Alvarez’s amended notice from Tuesday—was given a new case number and assigned to the Hon. Judge Fernando M. Olguin. The Second Action as filed by Alvarez calls for both cases to be heard in the same house, in accordance with Local Rule 83.1.3.1 of the Central District of California, which reads as follows:

L.R. 83-1.3.1 Notice of Related Civil Cases. It shall be the responsibility of the parties to promptly file a Notice of Related Cases whenever two or more civil cases filed in this District:

(a) arise from the same or a closely related transaction, happening, or event;

(b) call for determination of the same or substantially related or similar questions of law and fact; or

(c) for other reasons would entail substantial duplication of labor if heard by different judges.

As cited by Alvarez’s attorneys in the amended notice, “[b]oth the Secondary Action (a removal from the LA Superior Court Action) and the Primary Action involve nine of the ten same causes of action, with the Secondary Action having one fewer cause of action than the Primary Action, asserted by the same Plaintiffs, Alvarez, against the same Defendants, and arising out of the exact same set of facts. In particular, both actions involve Alvarez alleging breach of contract and other related causes of action against Defendants for their repudiations of certain personal service contracts. As such, the Primary Action and Secondary Action arise from the same transaction and call for determination of the same or substantially related questions of law and fact.

“Assuming that either action proceeds beyond the pleadings stage, in both cases, the parties’ respective rights and obligations under the agreements and Alvarez’s damages will be at issue and will be determinative. Accordingly, there will almost certainly be complete overlap in discovery, motion practices, and trials in the Primary Action and Secondary Action. The parties would benefit from consistent rulings before the Court.”

As a court date has not yet been set for the case filed by DAZN Media, Inc., it would appear to lend that much more reason to consolidating both cases.

“Failure to make this a related case and have both cases heard by the Hon. Judge Anderson would create inefficiencies from the standpoint of judicial economy and would increase the risk of inconsistent adjudications,” notes Alvarez’s attorneys. “In contrast, if heard both heard by the Hon. Judge Anderson, only one court would have to review evidence, hear motions, and conduct trial. If the same court does not hear both cases, there is a risk that the Alvarez or Defendants will be deemed to have certain rights and obligations in one matter and without those rights and obligations in the other.

“For all of the foregoing reasons, it appears that the Secondary Action would benefit from a related case transfer. Alvarez prays that this Court move this case to the Hon. Judge Percy Anderson, the court of the related case, pursuant to L.R. 83-1.3.1 and General Order No. 19-03, II.I.2 Transfer.”

Alvarez has not fought since an 11th round knockout of Sergey Kovalev to win the light heavyweight title last November in Las Vegas. The bout came on the heels of the publicly revealed contentious relationship between the boxer and de la Hoya given events in the months preceding the fight.

Through it all, plans remained in place for Alvarez to return to the ring in May, where he was to challenge England’s Billy Joe Saunders—a two-time and reigning super middleweight titlist—in a bid to become a recognized four-division champion. The event was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with efforts to get Alvarez back in the ring instead devolving into a financial and now lengthy legal war with Golden Boy and DAZN.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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