Robinson Bradshaw Secures Victory for NBA’s Zion Williamson, Voiding Illegal Contract



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Jan. 22, 2021

A federal judge has voided a contract between NBA star Zion Williamson and his former marketing agency after finding that the contract violated a North Carolina statute that protects amateur athletes. Robinson Bradshaw attorneys John R. Wester, Robert E. Harrington and Fitz E. Barringer, along with co-counsel Jeffrey S. Klein and Lauren E. Richards of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, represented Williamson in the case.

Williamson sued Gina Ford and Prime Sports Marketing to terminate his marketing agreement with the company, which Williamson signed while he was a student-athlete at Duke University. Ford countersued, claiming breach of contract. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs ruled in favor of Williamson and granted partial judgment on the pleadings, declaring that the contract violated the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agent Act because, among several reasons, Williamson was a student-athlete at the time he signed the agreement, Ford was not a certified agent in North Carolina and the agreement lacked legally required eligibility warnings.

Judge Biggs also dismissed Ford’s motion to introduce purported evidence that Williamson was not eligible as a student-athlete under NCAA rules, ruling that his eligibility was never in question with the NCAA and that Defendants’ claims “do not rely on material allegations of fact, rather a conclusion of law that flies in the face of their own pleadings.”

Media coverage of the case includes:

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