PGA Caddies Sue Over Bibs

A group of professional golf tour caddies has sued the PGA Tour demanding pay for being made into walking billboards by being required to wear bibs with commercial endorsements during competition.

The class action, filed by 82 named caddies in the federal court for the Northern District of California Tuesday, claims the PGA Tour made $50 million on the bibs during 2013-14 Tour season.

The lawsuit seeks to compensate caddies “who have been forced to wear the logos of defendant’s corporate sponsors without remuneration, and to preclude defendant from forcing caddies to provide these endorsement services gratuitously in the future.”

The bibs worn by caddies gain significant media exposure for the sponsors for live tournament audiences, TV viewers and webcast audiences.

Caddies receive none of the revenue for the commercial use of them as billboards that include their image and likeness, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims antitrust violation under the Sherman Act, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, violation of the caddies’ right to control their publicity and misappropriation of the caddies’ likeness.

The lawsuit seeks recovery of all the money received by the tour for the endorsements, allegedly $50 million annually for an unspecified number of years.  They also seek triple damages under antitrust law.  The suit seeks an injunction against the tour’s future requirement the caddies wear the bibs without compensation.

Case: Hicks v. PGA Tour, Inc. No. 15-489

 

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