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Saul Ewing Team Leads Timberwolves Owner to Victory

Published: 07/01/2021
Industries: Sports and Entertainment
Services: Litigation

A Saul Ewing team led by Alain Baudry, and assisted by Courtland Merrill and Lauren Schoeberl in the Minneapolis office, and Jeff Robbins in the Boston office, scored a complete victory for Firm clients Glen Taylor, Taylor Corporation and Taylor Sports Group, majority owners of the partnership that owns the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx professional basketball teams.  On Thursday, July 1, 2021, federal judge Eric Tostrud of the Minnesota Federal District Court dismissed a claim by limited partner, plaintiff Orbit Sports, LLC, that its rights had been violated by the Taylor Parties’ agreement in principle to sell the Minnesota Timberwolves Limited Partnership for $1.5 billion to a company owned by Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore.

The plaintiff alleged it was entitled to an immediate buyout of its 17.3% limited partnership interest for $300 million, as a result of the Taylor Parties merely entering into an agreement that could eventually lead to a sale of the teams.  In addition, plaintiff sought a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin the closing of the initial sale to the buyer of a 20% limited partnership interest.

The Saul Ewing team immediately moved to dismiss the complaint only 14 days after it was filed.  On the very same day, the plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction.  The Saul Team quickly responded to the motion for a preliminary injunction 10 days later, arguing that plaintiff was unable to demonstrate any likelihood of success on the merits, and that the plaintiff suffered  no injury, let alone a required irreparable injury. 

Judge Tostrud held a four-hour oral argument on June 30.  The very next day, he  issued a detailed and thorough 37-page opinion rejecting all of plaintiff’s arguments.  The court granted the Taylor Parties’ motion to dismiss, finding that plaintiff’s proposed interpretation of the Partnership Agreement was unreasonable.  The court also specifically rejected the claim that  the plaintiff would suffer irreparable injury if the closing on the sale of the first 20% limited partnership went forward.

"The Court’s decision was immensely gratifying, and we believe the absolutely correct result for our clients. We are thrilled that Court was able to issue such a detailed and reasoned opinion as quickly as it did, allowing the transactions to move forward," said Alain Baudry, the lead partner on the engagement.