As the case against the Giants involving allegations of memorabilia fraud rockets toward trial, pre-trial filings from the competing parties understandably tell very different stories regarding the case.
It’s a normal part of civil litigation. The latest article delving into the situation, posted Tuesday night by ESPN.com, relates to what’s known as a motion for summary judgment, a very common move by defendants who have been sued. In a motion for summary judgment, the defendant argues that there’s no reason for a trial, because there’s not enough proof to justify submitting the dispute to a jury.
If nothing else, the move forces the plaintiff to put some cards on the table regarding the proof that supports the case, essentially giving the defendants a peek inside the eventual playbook for trial.
“Plaintiffs have put forward no evidence supporting the proposition that engaging in memorabilia fraud is the kind of task that any Giants employee was ever employed or otherwise authorized to perform,” the Giants’ lawyers contend in a court filing.
In other words, the Giants contend that any employee who may have provided fake memorabilia to third persons essentially went rogue. The plaintiffs will argue that the Giants have responsibility for any effort by the team’s employees — particularly, equipment manager Joe Skiba — to sell as game-used any memorabilia that wasn’t actually used in games.
The filings include information from dueling expert witnesses. Predictably, one says that the evidence shows fake memorabilia, and the other says it doesn’t.
“After over a year of discovery, and hiring their own expert, the Giants still haven’t shown that Eli Manning gave a single real helmet to Steiner Sports,” Brian C. Brook, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, told ESPN.com.
The presiding judge eventually will issue a ruling. It’s typically a high bar to win a case without a trial; in this case, hard-to-explain email messages suggesting the sale of “BS” helmets plus the evidence from the expert witness, who identifies evidence of fraud by matching helmets that were sold as game-used to photos of helmets actually used in games could be enough to persuade the judge to let a jury figure it all out.