Lawsuit Against Irvin is "Civil Extortion": Rep Says

Thursday, Jun 4, 2009  |  Updated 7:45 AM CDT
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Lawsuit Against Irvin is "Civil Extortion": Rep Says

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Michael Irvin's attorney said the lawsuit is civil extortion.

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A lawsuit three men have filed against former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin contends he stole the concept for his reality TV show from them.

The men claim Irvin's "4th and Long" is actually their concept called "Guts and Glory." Irvin's show -- in which 12 football amateurs compete for a spot with the Cowboys -- debuted in May on Spike TV.

Irvin's attorney Larry Friedman called the lawsuit bogus and said the men were "looking for something for nothing." He said Irvin had the idea years ago.

But Mark Taylor, the Dallas-based attorney for the three plaintiffs, said his clients were never given any indication that the football star was working on a similar concept.

"That's inconsistent with what Michael and his agents told them at the time they were meeting and working on the deal," said Taylor, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday. Taylor is the attorney for Jordan Bealmear, Shannon Clark and Christopher N. Harding who are suing Irvin.

"These guys came to Michael and impersonated producers. When he finally met with them, they had never produced a show in their lives. These guys had n-o-t-h-i-ng," Friedman told The Associated Press. Friedman said Irvin met with the men a year ago in Dallas.

Taylor said he didn't have details on his clients producing backgrounds, but that they're "only seeking what's rightfully theirs."

"They are young producers and being deprived of the credit for this show is also very important to them," Taylor said.

In an August 2007 meeting, the men presented their concept to Irvin and later negotiated an agreement involving how each side would split the money, the newspaper reported.

The agreement first proposed that Irvin and his agent receive 25 percent of a producing fee in connection with the show. In March 2008, Irvin's representatives told the plaintiffs he wanted 95 percent of the fee, the newspaper reported the lawsuit stated.

"They had no relationship with the team, by the way, when they came to us. When they say in their lawsuit that they had 75 percent, they had 75 percent of nothing. There were no negotiations, nothing signed, this is civil extortion," Friedman said.

"We're the only one that have a relationship with the Dallas Cowboys," he said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

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