Certified Baseball Agent
Generally, in baseball a player has the right to terminate his agent at any time. Frequently, the agent is terminated after he has begun negotiating with the club on the player’s behalf for a new contract. In such situations, the successor agent may pick up and complete the negotiations, and the question then arises whether the predecessor agent is entitled to any fees on the resulting contract.
After five months of on-again-off-again negotiations with the club, the agent and club had narrowed the parameters on a potential deal. Before the club could counter the agent’s last proposal, the player terminated the agent and hired a new one, who in less than three weeks completed the negotiations on a multi-million dollar, long-term contract. JFA argued that the predecessor agent substantially contributed to the ultimate contract, and therefore, while he was not entitled to a contractual remedy (because his player-agent contract had been terminated), he was nonetheless entitled to equitable relief to prevent the player from being unjustly enriched at his expense.
The Arbitrator ruled in favor of the original agent. In the vast majority of such cases, agents are denied relief, due in large measure to their inability to prove that their efforts prior to termination contributed to the ultimate contract. Here, not only did the Arbitrator rule in favor of agent, but the agent received the highest fee percentage ever awarded in such cases.