By Jeffrey S. Kravitz, Esquire

The NHL just announced that all games are cancelled until the New Year. Like marriages, labor quarrels are very tough to analyze from the outside. What I do know is that hockey fans always poll up there with NASCAR fans as the most committed to their sport. What I also know is what Canadian author also noted (with a disclaimer as to his comments on French Canadians):

Canadians are actually the most tolerant of foreigners. Mordecai Riccler said "Canada is not so much a country as a holding tank filled with the disgruntled progeny of defeated peoples. French-Canadians consumed by self-pity; the descendants of Scots who fled the Duke of Cumberland; Irish, the famine; and Jews, the Black Hundreds. Then there are the peasants from Ukraine, Poland, Italy and Greece, convenient to grow wheat and dig out the ore and swing the hammers and run the restaurants, but otherwise to be kept in their place. Most of us are huddled tight to the border, looking into the candy store window, scared of the Americans on one side and of the bush on the other."

-Mordecai Richter

 

With all of the present political problems, I still wish that the President (under Taft-Hartley) and the Prime Minister could order them back to work. That would be reaching across the aisle as well as across the border.

 

 

By Jeffrey S. Kravitz

As featured in the Toronto Globe and Mail a Canadian company that sells 95% hockey chatchkes is suffering mightily by virtue of the hockey lockout. Does the NHL owe that person anything…no, because it is a commercial relationship and not a fiduciary one. What is a fiduciary? It is a person or institution that owes another the highest duty of good faith. Think a trustee or dare I say it, a lawyer. The law imposes superior obligations on such folks by virtue of the trust imposed in them. The NHL….likely nada. How could the vendor have protected himself?  He could have tried to put a clause in his license contract with the NHL that required them to pay him in the event of a strike or lockout (good luck). Perhaps he could have obtained business insurance that did the same thing. Or he could have diversified as stated in the article to Major League Baseball or the NBA. The lesson? As presidential advisor Bernard Baruch once remarked, "if you are going to put all of your eggs in one basket, watch the hell out of the basket."

 

As featured in BusinessWeek.com on December 30, 2010, the question looming over the NFL playoffs is the possibility of a strike next season. The players’ union has estimated the cost of such a strike at $160 million and has written the nation’s governors and mayors regarding this potential loss.

What goes unstated is whether either side has strike insurance to "share the wealth" with carriers, foreign or domestic. This writer worked on the baseball strike of ’88, which was insured in part. The insurers in turned reinsured the risk through other carriers. Reinsurance is basically a side bet by the insurer with another company so that the entire risk does not fall on one carrier or underwriting group. Insurance law and reinsurance law is basically the law of contracts with a heavy dose of public policy thrown in.

 

So when the figure of $160 million is used, the question becomes, who will bear the ultimate risk?

In "NFLPA Files Complaint Against NFL Over Television Deals", SI.com deals with the issue of the NFL players vs owners in the event of a lockout or strike.  Seems the owners have more protection than the players and players are crying foul.  A longtime agreement requires the owners to try to maximize revenue to the players and the players feel that the covenant of good faith and fair dealing has been broken.  Every contract has an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in California, which is basically the Golden Rule.  Much commentary from the players on this one and none from the owners.  Will be interesting to see their reply and we will be following.