PHILLIPS NIZER PREVAILS AGAINST EVERLAST WORLD BOXING HEADQUARTERS CORPORATION AND EVERLAST WORLDWIDE, INC.
ON BEHALF OF LICENSING CONSULTANT
Appellate Division affirms American Arbitration Association award in long-running dispute related to commissions
owed to Joan Hansen & Company, Inc.
New York, NY -- The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court today unanimously affirmed a judgment directing an accounting in favor of Joan Hansen & Company, Inc. against Everlast World Boxing Headquarters Corporation, the owner of the Everlast trademarks, and its parent company Everlast Worldwide, Inc. (Both companies are now owned by Brands Holdings Limited, a multi-national company.) (In re Joan Hanson & Company, Inc., Petitioner-Respondent, against Everlast World’s Boxing Headquarters Corp., et. al., Respondents-Appellants | Index #106654/11). At issue: Commissions owed to Hansen, Everlast’s former licensing consultant, on licenses which Hansen had obtained for Everlast.
The parties’ agreement provided that Hansen would be paid commissions for as long as the licensees remained licensees of Everlast. Everlast claimed commissions were to cease two years after the parties’ agreement expired on December 31, 2004, and therefore, stopped paying Hansen at the end of 2006. The dispute went to arbitration before American Arbitration Association arbitrators who sided with Hansen and directed Everlast to account to Hansen and pay commissions from January 1, 2007 to date with nine percent interest and to continue to account and pay commissions to Hansen for so long as the Hansen-obtained licensees remained licensees of Everlast. The Supreme Court confirmed the arbitration award and Everlast appealed.
In affirming the judgment in Hansen’s favor, the unanimous five-Judge panel noted:
“The only paragraph that the parties asked the arbitrators to interpret – suggests that the parties did not consider the two words [‘expiration’ and ‘termination’] to be synonymous. Specifically, in the paragraph, the parties’ provide that “in the event of termination of this Agreement” petitioner would be entitled to certain fees after the termination….If the parties understood “termination” to be synonymous with “expiration,” they would have had no need to use the conditional phrase “in the event of termination,” as the agreement was already set to expire automatically on a predetermined date.”
Subsequent to Ms. Hansen’s passing last year, her son, Scott Mendelson, who had served as Executive Vice President of the company since 1989, was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mendelson stated he was pleased with the decision of the Appellate Division confirming his company’s right to continued participation in royalties from licensees which it had obtained for Everlast.
Hansen was represented by litigation partners George Berger and Bruce J. Turkle of Phillips Nizer LLP.
About Joan Hanson & Company, Inc.:
Joan Hansen & Company, Inc., a leading global independent brand licensing agency and fashion consultancy, was founded in 1978 by its namesake, Joan V. Hansen. The company has represented a wide-range of high-profile clients including Daniel Hechter, Joseph Abboud, Charles Jourdan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Arnold Scaasi, Anheuser-Busch, Eastman Kodak, Gant, Giorgio Armani, Gloria Vanderbilt, Halston, Johnny Carson, Michael Jackson, Valentino, Dr. Pepper, Hanes and Mattel/Barbie. (www.joanhanson.com)
About Phillips Nizer LLP:
Phillips Nizer LLP has been engaged in a wide-ranging practice of domestic and international law for over 85 years. Established by world-renowned trial attorney Louis Nizer, the firm’s principal office is in Manhattan, with additional offices in Garden City and East Hampton, Long Island, as well as Hackensack, New Jersey. To learn more about Phillips Nizer LLP, please visit: www.phillipsnizer.com.