USACA lawsuit to stop CPL dismissed by Florida court
The USA Cricket Association's attempt to block six Caribbean Premier League (CPL) games from taking place on July 28-31 in Lauderhill, Florida by pursuing an emergency injunction was denied on Monday afternoon by Judge Michael L Gates in Florida's 17th Circuit Court in Broward County. Judge Gates struck down the arguments made by former USACA executive secretary Kenwyn Williams on behalf of USACA, that the games were not properly sanctioned, with Gates writing that USACA's claims were "insufficient to justify ex-parte relief".
"Ex parte orders are antithetical to precious due process rights," Judge Gates wrote, citing previous legal precedent. "There must be a 'strong and clear' showing before a temporary injunction without notice may issue."
Williams had filed a lawsuit against Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan, Broward County Parks & Recreation, and Central Broward Regional Park manager Duncan Finch last week - with USACA and USACA vice-president Owen Grey listed as co-plaintiffs - seeking an emergency injunction to prevent the games from happening. Williams claimed that in bypassing USACA and going to the ICC for sanctioning, the CPL had not gone through the proper sanctioning process in order for the games to be staged. However, Williams did not file suit against the CPL nor the ICC, the two parties who applied for and approved sanctioning respectively.
Mayor Kaplan's lawyers filed a motion for dismissal on July 20, arguing that Williams should not be allowed to file a suit as a pro se litigant because he is not licensed to practice law in Florida. In addition to his ruling that the suit did not meet the merits to justify ex-parte relief, Judge Gates also sided with Kaplan's lawyers in ruling that Williams did not have standing to represent USACA in a legal capacity.
"Petitioner Kenwyn S Williams purports to bring the instant action on behalf of USA Cricket Association," Gates wrote in his summary. "Mr Williams is not permitted to do so. Mr Williams is not a member of the Florida Bar, nor has he provided any documentation that he is authorized to practice law in the State of Florida. Under Florida law, a corporation may not represent itself through non-lawyer employees, officers or shareholders.
"Thus, if petitioner USA Cricket Association wishes to proceed in the instant action, it must retain counsel."
Marshall Beil, a lawyer representing USACA from the firm McGuire Woods LLP, had sent a cease and desist notice to Williams in June when he first threatened to take legal action to stop the CPL games. Based on the stance taken by Beil on behalf of USACA, it is unlikely USACA will continue pursuing the case. Mayor Kaplan was satisfied with the ruling handed down by Judge Gates.
"The Judge's ruling did not surprise me, and we were extremely confident that we would prevail in this situation," Kaplan told ESPNcricinfo in a written statement. "The action had no merit, and the ICC, who has sole authority to sanction the event, did so in writing some time ago. I look forward to seeing everyone at the games."
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna