This is the best post I've seen on the situation, posted by "smarner" at official:
The Caps are represented by Proskauer Rose so they are not looking to do this cheaply. Although it was filed by an attorney in the DC office, it looks like two attorneys in New York are calling the shots, because their pro hac vice admission (admission just for this case) was moved by the DC guy.
I have the complaint and the exhibit to it. I can't at the moment, but I'll post it online and provide a link to it this afternoon. I can't just provide a link now because you have to pay to get it from the court's system.
I have not read the complaint yet, but glancing at it tells me they are suing Semin for breach of contract, and seek an injunction prohibiting Semin from playing hockey for any team other than the Caps for the 05-06 season. They also sued the agent and his agency fo injunctive relief and damages, for aiding and abetting the breach. The Caps say outright that they believe the military obligation is a "sham." The Caps are doing this EXACTLY the way I would have done it. They say that Friesen was hired as a replacement for Semin. They had to do that, because there is no way they can force Semin to actually play for the Caps. Generally courts will not order specific performance of a personal services contract. And the Caps would have a much harder time proving damages without alleging they hired a replacement player, because they'd have to show what damages -- lost ticket sales, etc. -- were caused by Semin's breach, which would be extremely hard to do. They still have an uphill climb proving damages, and proving that Friesen is a replacement for Semin, but this is their best shot. Hockey players aren't like cars.. you can't just say you agreed to sell me a 2004 Honda for $15,000, and you didn't, and I had to spend $17,000 to get a comparable replacement.
The causes of action are: 1. Against Semin for Injunctive Relief (seeking an order requiring Semin to cease playing hockey); 2. For Damages Against Gandler and ISA for Tortious Interference With Contract (someone here predicted that as well, kudos.... the Caps want the payments made to ISA by Semin turned over to the Caps, and damages in the form of Friesen's salary); 3. For Injunctive Relief Against Gandler and ISA to Restrain Their Continued Tortious Interference With Contract; 4. For Damages Against Gandler and ISA for Aiding and Abetting a Breach of Fiduciary Duty. The exhibit to the complaint is the contract with Semin.
Lastly, a partial post by "monty", giving other sources for these documents (as the remainder of his post seems to be personal conjecture, although rational and valid, I've omitted it here. If you want to read the whole post, it's on the thread at official):
As smarner alludes to, the complaint, its exhibit - Semin's contract - is on the PACER website, but you need to have a login and password to view and print the document - which I do. But both also would be readily available from the clerk's office (for viewing and copying) in the federal District Court of the District of Columbia downtown. I figured DC district court based on the likelihood that Semin's contract was entered into here but haven't read the complaint yet except for the intro.
These pleadings for the case are public documents and so anyone is entitled to review them if you have access to PACER or can go to the court docket room. In fact with PACER you can check on any other pleadings filed because the court uses an electronic filing system so everything is available on the website as soon as filed and processed.
Unlike many court cases, the initial phase of this court case should move along quickly because the Caps are seeking a TRO - temporary restraining order - which usually is set for hearing within a week or so, and the court rules quickly. The downside is that the Caps' burden for obtaining a TRO is pretty high - establishing that money damages won't be sufficient and irreparable harm may ensue if the TRO isn't issued promptly. So the Caps will probably lose that round. However, that round will surely involve the filing of an opposition brief by one or more of the defendants, which is likely to shed more light on what's going on with Semin, the agent and Russia.
Again, a smarner post, further along in the thread at official:
Norske is right on about the NHL lawyers....
From the bio of Bradley Ruskin, one of the lawyers (and the one calling the shots --the other two are a Senior Counsel in NY who likely reports to Ruskin, and a guy in the DC office who is needed because Ruskin is not admitted to practice here):
As head of the litigation section of Proskauer's preeminent sports practice, a significant portion of Brad's practice is dedicated to litigating issues and counseling clients active in the sports business. Among the league clients for whom he performs services are the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the ATP, and the WTA. In addition, Brad has represented ownership groups and clubs in each of the major U.S. sports (including the Florida Marlins, the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Jersey Devils), and media companies in sports-related disputes.
And this link, concerning Proskauer's business practice:
Interpretation of these posts, documents, and insights into the situation are solely up to the individual reader(s) here (but I will say on my own that smarner is owed a debt of grand kudos galore for this).
Capitals' restraining order limits Semin's movement
November 4, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Capitals on Friday were granted a temporary restraining order against holdout Alexander Semin, preventing the Russian forward's representatives from negotiating contracts with any team other than Washington.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ruled that Semin, New Jersey-based agent Mark Gandler and Gandler's International Sports Advisors Company, Inc., are forbidden to make ``any agreement, contract, trade, loan or other arrangement whereby Semin will play hockey games for any professional hockey team or organization other than the Washington Capitals'' until a hearing is held on the team's lawsuit against the player.
A motion on the Capitals' request for a preliminary injunction against Semin will be held Nov. 23. Semin, Gandler and ISA have been given 10 days to respond to the Capitals' complaint.
``It's the first step,'' Capitals general manager George McPhee said. ``Essentially, the court has agreed with the Capitals that what's taking place isn't proper.''
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the ruling was significant because it also allows the Capitals to serve papers on Semin through his agent.
The Capitals filed suit Oct. 28 in Washington asking that Semin be barred from playing for any team other than Washington during the 2005-06 season. The suit seeks damages from Gandler to cover the $1,000-per-day fines Semin is subject to for not reporting, and the $2.28 million the Capitals are paying left wing Jeff Friesen, who was acquired in September to take Semin's spot on the roster.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who attended the Capitals' game against Atlanta on Friday, said he supported Washington's legal actions.
``My feeling is that contracts should always be honored. ... This is a situation where a legally binding contract is not being honored and that's not right,'' Bettman said.
Semin , taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft, signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in 2003. He played for Washington in 2003-04, then was told to report to Portland of the AHL in September 2004 during the NHL lockout. Instead, Semin went to play for Russian team Lada Togliatti.
The Capitals' lawsuit says Gandler told the team that Semin could not leave Russia because of military obligations, a claim the team disputes.
``That alleged 'military obligation' is a sham and Semin is not now, and never has been, validly in the Russian military,'' the Capitals' complaint said.
The 21-year-old Semin, who had 10 goals and 12 assists in 52 games for Washington in 2003-04, can not be prevented from playing in his native country because Russia is not part of the NHL's new player transfer agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Russian courts are under no obligation to enforce American law, Daly said, even if a U.S. court decrees Semin cannot play for a foreign team.
Bettman said that Russia would ultimately pay a price for not participating in the transfer program.
``The result of not participating in the development agreement will be the development money that would otherwise flow to Russian ice hockey,'' the commissioner said. ``Youth programs and development programs won't be there.''
McPhee said Semin would be welcomed back to the team if he decides to report.
Current Topic - Capitals File Lawsuit re: Semin, Lada, Gandler