Sports agent's lawyer wins dismissal of all claims in Ohio court
Clients Wasserman Media Group, LLC
On May 23, 2012, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas (Commercial Docket) issued a decision dismissing all claims against Jones Day's client Bert H. Deixler. Mr. Deixler, a Los Angeles attorney, was counsel to sports agent Wasserman Media Group LLC in a dispute with Major League baseball pitcher Francisco Jose Rodriguez, a.k.a. "K-Rod". K-Rod's Cleveland-based attorney, Richard Johnson, sued Deixler, alleging that Deixler had breached a "mediation agreement" by his conduct at a mediation in New York and had fraudulently induced Johnson to participate in the mediation. Jones Day filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and/or for failure to state a claim.
The court held that it had no personal jurisdiction over Mr. Deixler because he had not purposefully availed himself of any privileges in Ohio, but rather "had contacts with Ohio only because Rodriguez chose to hire Johnson, an Ohio attorney, to handle a dispute that did not occur or arise out of conduct in Ohio." The court also held that alleged misrepresentations into Ohio by phone or email could not support jurisdiction because they were the same allegedly unfulfilled promises on which Johnson based his contract claim and thus "Johnson's claims sound in contract, not tort." Finally, the alleged contract afforded no basis for jurisdiction because it was performed in New York and related to a subject matter (the underlying dispute between K-Rod and Wasserman) that had "no connection to Ohio".
Johnson v. Deixler, No. CV-12-776545 (Cuyahoga County, OH)