Down to the wire for Bouchard v USTA

On Friday afternoon, the lawyers for Canadian tennis player Genie Bouchard and the defendants in her lawsuit, the U.S. Tennis Association, will meet in a courtroom in Brooklyn, NY for a settlement conference.

According to the judge’s order, both sides both need to have a representative with “full settlement authority” on hand. The hope, obviously, is that they can come to accord on an acceptable number to avoid a lengthy trial.

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While there have been rumblings that the two sides may, in fact settle, the trial date is still set for Feb. 19, 2018.

A final pre-trial conference is scheduled for next Thursday. And in the meantime, both sides have asked for an extension on the deadline to deliver trial exhibits and witness lists. Both also have filed motions in Limine (meaning they want certain pieces of evidence or testimony to be excluded from the trial).

In Limine for Bouchard’s social media

From Bouchard’s side, one motion seeks to preclude evidence and testimony from sports attorney and law professor David Shropshire. 

Bouchard walks into Arthur Ashe Stadium in Sept. 2015 to pull out of the US Open, after suffering a concussion in a locker-room incident. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Shropshire, per the documents, “is expected to testify the accident did not negatively impact Plaintiff’s marketability or her ability to continue to market herself in the future, that Plaintiff did not lose any endorsement-related income in the past and will not lose any endorsement-related income in the future, and that any claim regarding the loss of endorsement-related income would be entirely speculative.”

So it … makes sense that they wouldn’t want a jury to hear that.

Another in Limine motion from Bouchard’s side is to “Preclude Evidence of and Reference to Plaintiff’s Social Media Accounts.”

That one is particularly interesting, if it’s granted. Obviously there’s a treasure trove of information there. The other side of that is that Bouchard’s social media is a huge part of her career and visibility, which is a huge part of her attractiveness as a product endorser. So it’s hard to even talk about endorsements (and the loss or non-loss thereof) without bringing that into it.

(Update: the USTA filed a motion Friday in opposition to the Bouchard side’s motion about precluding her social media).

Bouchard withdrew her claim for punitive damages last August. You’d think that would have been made the case easier to settle. Because in these cases that can be a big amount, if the plaintiff wins. But they’re still trucking on.

Bouchard’s list of damages

1. “Past pain and suffering” (both physical and psychological/emotional).

2. “Future pain and suffering” (both physical and psychological/emotional), 

3. “Past lost income/earnings capacity” (that includes lost prize money, appearance fees, potential endorsement deals, seeding, ranking, bonus points and end-of-year ranking bonuses).

4. “Future lost income/earnings capacity”  (that includes lost prize money, appearance fees, potential endorsement deals, seeding, ranking, bonus points and end-of-year ranking bonuses).

5. Past medical expenses.

6. Future medical expenses. 

Whether Bouchard’s on-court struggles since filing the lawsuit in Oct. 2015 – that’s already nearly 2 1/2 years ago, can you believe it? – will help her or hurt her is to be determined. Her ranking has now dropped out of the top 100 even though all evidence points to the fact that she is healthy.

The defendants have listed former top-10 player and currently Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik to testify about Bouchard’s play.

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