Turner “Tfue” Tenney will have to fight FaZe Clan’s countersuit in a New York Court, a judge ordered on Wednesday. In court documents filed yesterday, Judge Jed S. Rakoff denied Tenney’s motion to dismiss or stay the court proceedings. Tenney and FaZe Clan will have to continue all cases — the two in California (one with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office and another in the Los Angeles Superior Court) and the third in New York.
Tenney sued FaZe Clan in May over an “oppressive” contract that Tenney said breaks the law. He filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, too. FaZe Clan isn’t licensed through the commissioner as an agent, and Tenney argues it doesn’t have a say in his employment opportunities. The complicated part is that esports players and livestreamers aren’t typically thought of as “artists,” who the California Labor Commissioner and the Talent Agency Act typical protects. Because of that, the case could have major implications across the industry — setting a new precedent for labor laws applied to internet celebrities.
FaZe Clan countersued Tenney in the Southern New York court district; Tenney’s contract has a “mandatory and exclusive forum selection clause” that favors New York — and this suit is what Tenney was trying to stop. Judge Rakoff called Tenney’s motion to dismiss an “obvious attempt by [the] defendant to avoid a binding and enforceable forum selection clause,” The Hollywood Reporter first reported.
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“The Court has also considered the defendant’s other arguments and finds them unpersuasive,” Rakoff wrote. “The defendant’s motion is therefore denied.”
Both parties were ordered to appear at a pre-trial conference in March. Another document filed yesterday approved — but dated Oct. 31 — said the case should be ready for a jury trial by Feb. 28, 2020. The court expects to set a trial date on March 4, 2020. Meanwhile in California, the court system there will move forward with its cases, too.
Judge Rakoff said he’s not worried about conflict between the courts. Polygon has reached out to FaZe Clan and Tenney for comment.
FaZe Clan / Tfue by Polygondotcom on Scribd
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