Jury Backs Ted Williams' Son
Nov. 19, 2002
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LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) _ A jury on Tuesday ruled in favor of the son of the late Hall of Famer Ted Williams who was sued by a former business associate in a dispute over profits for sports memorabilia.
Sports promoter Lane Forman claimed in a 1998 lawsuit that John Henry Williams had cheated him out of his share of the profits on products showing the likenesses of NBA stars Larry Bird and Charles Barkley.
Forman claimed he never received his promised 5 percent of gross profits from Grand Slam Marketing, a company run by the younger Williams.
Williams claimed he paid Forman $2,500 _ his 5 percent stake in the profits. Forman said he received one payment of $1,710, far less than he believed he was owed. He sought $250,000 in damages.
On Monday, Lawrence Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead threw out claims of fraud and unfair business practices against Williams and his partner, finding that Forman had not proved those claims.
On Tuesday, a jury ruled on the remaining claim, finding that Williams did not breach his contract with Forman.
``From the beginning of this case, the defendants have consistently maintained that Mr. Forman was fairly paid for his contribution,'' said Williams' attorney, Dennis McKenna said.
The contract claim considered by the jury covered two products: a photograph called ``The Boys of Boston,'' featuring Boston sports legends Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Ted Williams; and autographed Larry Bird basketballs.
McKenna said the jury found that Forman had signed a settlement agreement in May 1995 in which he agreed he would be paid $2,500 _ 5 percent of the gross profits _ for the Boys of Boston photograph.
McKenna said the Larry Bird basketballs were never produced, so Forman was not owed any profits.
Forman's lawyer, Louis Muggeo, has said he has never been able to calculate how much profit Williams made off the Bird and Barkley deals because Williams' lawyers will not turn over financial records. A woman who answered the phone at Muggeo's law office said he was not available for comment.
Forman contended that Williams turned the products over to one of his other memorabilia companies to avoid sharing profits with him. His agreements were with Grand Slam Marketing only.
Williams was not called to testify during the 2 1/2-week trial.