Knicks’ Suit Against Raptors

August 22, 2023 – Media Mention

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, spoke to Law360 about the federal lawsuit filed by the New York Knicks alleging that fellow NBA team, the Toronto Raptors, improperly obtained proprietary scouting data. 

In discussing the current status, Irwin noted that "[a]t the very least, the Raptors will likely move to dismiss the case." 

"Running to a court right off the bat is a fairly regular occurrence in the corporate world,'' Irwin said, alluding to companies' attempts to prevent employees from taking confidential material to a new employer. "This sort of resembles that. But you don't see that in a sports context, and the reason is that they're competitors but also partners, and they usually have an understanding of what they can and cannot do.''

"These types of internecine disputes are handled in the commissioner's office,'' Irwin added.

The article notes that "[t]here appears to be no precedent in sports for accusations of stealing confidential data between teams being argued in federal court, at least not at the federal level." The article further describes "the biggest incident of data theft in U.S. sports leagues," which took place when the St. Louis Cardinals' scouting director was found to have hacked the Houston Astros' player information database in 2013 and 2014. 

The Cardinals "were caught red-handed. I have not seen the red-handed in this. And who knows, maybe it is, but usually the commissioner's office takes the lead on this," said Irwin. 

Read the full article in Law360 here. Access may require a subscription.