Rory McIlroy has been hit with another court action – in America – as he prepares for a High Court battle in Dublin with his former manager Conor Ridge.
The Irish Times reports that McIlroy must rely on the credibility of Ridge and his Horizon Sports management company as he defends himself in an action taken by US multi-national Oakley.
Oakley is suing McIlroy and Nike in California over the golfer’s hugely lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike.
The report says that before the deal with Nike, McIlroy had an agreement with Oakley to wear and endorse its products which, it claims, gave it a right of first refusal over any new deal with the golfer.
The case in California has already heard that McIlroy is dependent on Ridge’s credibility in the Oakley action, according to the paper.
But McIlroy has already filed a case in Dublin accusing Ridge of deception after bringing their management deal to an abrupt end earlier this year.
The report says that in the US case, Oakley is seeking documents from McIlroy linked to his relationship with Ridge, CEO of Horizon Sports Management.
In response, McIlroy has said that the clothing firm is trying to ‘harass’ him by seeking an overly broad range of documents and that it is engaged in a ‘sweeping fishing expedition.’
In documents submitted to the US court, Oakley claims that Ridge represented McIlroy both in its dealings with Oakley and with Nike at the time when the Oakley agreement was coming to an end and the Nike agreement was being negotiated.
The Oakley submission says: “Mr Ridge’s credibility is at the heart of this case. Last month, however, McIlroy terminated his contract with Ridge and Horizon and has since initiated a lawsuit in Ireland against Horizon accusing it and Ridge of ‘exploiting’ and ‘misleading’ McIlroy and of breaching their fiduciary duties.
“The documents sought are relevant to the credibility and level of care of the individuals involved, particularly in the light of the allegations of deception and exploitation at issue in the Dublin dispute.”
Oakley’s submission adds that in the US case the golfer is relying on the credibility of Ridge, while making accusations against him in the Dublin case.
The report concludes that a ruling over whether McIlroy should supply the documents requested will now be made by the district court of California.
McIlroy has offered to give documents showing his representation agreement with Horizon as well as the book of papers from the Irish court case as a compromise.
He has already supplied Oakley with documents outlining his dealings with Nike.
Horizon is not involved in the US case and has told the Dublin courts it intends to strongly contest the claims made by its former client and submit a counterclaim.
The company is scheduled to make its submissions to the Commercial Court in Dublin on November 26th.
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