Former tennis coach's lawsuit against Naomi Osaka and her father thrown out of court

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Quite a few people on this forum were aware of the lawsuit that was filed by Osaka's former coach claiming he was entitled to 20% of all of Naomi and her sisters career earnings due to a supposed contract signed when Naomi was just 13.

Anyway, the court has dismissed the lawsuit because no court had approved the contract and the fact that both Naomi and her sister Mari were minors and disavowed the contract.

A lawsuit alleging a former trainer was entitled to a portion of tennis star Naomi Osaka’s lifetime earnings is out of play, after a South Florida judge dismissed it Friday.

Broward Circuit Judge David A. Haimes dismissed the three-count complaint by Christophe Jean, a Pompano Beach tennis trainer who sued Osaka, her sister Mari, and her father Leonard Francois for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Jean’s March complaint sought quantum meriut earnings, alleging the trainer had a contract in which the family agreed to pay him 20% of the sisters’ earnings over their entire careers, in exchange for coaching. He claimed the family had struggled to afford the equipment and private lessons before Osaka became a star athlete with championships in women’s singles at the U.S. and Australian opens.

But Haimes ruled that if Jean “wanted to validate the contract, [he] was required to submit the contract to a court for approval.”

“Because no court ever approved the subject contract, and Naomi Osaka and Mari Osaka, who were minors, disavowed said contract, the court holds that the subject contract is not valid or enforceable,” the judge wrote finding Jean’s evidence ”on its face fails to specify the required elements for a valid contract.”

Haimes dismissed Jean’s complaint because Florida courts “have routinely held that one cannot bring a claim for unjust enrichment against a minor.” The judge also ruled the same claims brought against Francois failed too, because the father was “solely acting in his capacity as an agent” for his children.


Representing Osaka and her family were Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan New York partners Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, who’s also represented New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The attorneys filed a motion to dismiss, arguing Florida law allows child athletes, deemed “infants,” to later void their contracts.
“We are pleased with the decision,” Spiro said in an emailed statement.

Jean’s legal counsel, Christopher P. Hahn of Fort Lauderdale law firm Maurice Wutscher, declined to comment.

Jean’s suit claims the training arrangement began in March 2012 and concluded five years later in April 2017. It alleged Jean had “not received any income derived from defendants’ tennis careers, including but not limited to, Women’s Tennis Association prize money and endorsement deals,” necessitating his legal action.

Jean also claimed his contract with the defendants “provided that the term of the employment shall be indefinite, and the agreement may be terminated by giving three months’ written notice to the other party.”
 

40-15 tho

New User
Gonna just come out and say what no one's willing to say.

Osaka's are shady tbh. The whole drama with Coco after their USO match seemed like a too drawn out and tiresome charade
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Gonna just come out and say what no one's willing to say.

Osaka's are shady tbh. The whole drama with Coco after their USO match seemed like a too drawn out and tiresome charade
Drama? You mean that sweet moment when she brought her for the on court interview and was praised around the world and by players like Federer and Gauff herself?

What a silly thing to say.
 
simply the family ripped off several coaches for free training. a first year law student could have gotten this thrown out of court. who makes deals with 13 year olds?
 

accidental

Hall of Fame
Contract not worth the paper it’s written on

Coach is a piece of work, trying to bind children to ridiculous contracts like some Victorian era workhouse owner. He probably has ‘contracts’ with dozens of others he though he could cash in on someday.
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Contract not worth the paper it’s written on

Coach is a piece of work, trying to bind children to ridiculous contracts like some Victorian era workhouse owner. He probably has ‘contracts’ with dozens of others he though he could cash in on someday.
This is exactly what I thought. I couldn't believe people on this forum were somehow criticizing Naomi for what her father 'supposedly' did when she was just a child! The coach should've known better. Even if he had authenticated the contract, it wasn't something Naomi consented too since she was only 13 years old and her father supposedly orchestrated it! What a terrible case.
 
Swell news. Of course both parties are shady, by which I mean the fancy coach and the Osakadad. Would be nice to see her forgo filial feels and slice his share of the dough short.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Former tennis coach's lawsuit against Naomi Osaka and her father thrown out of court
lol. At first read it sounds like the lawsuit was dropped and Osaka's Dad was thrown out of court. :p

Anyway, there was no way this was going to be a valid contract. I don't know what specifics there were for money paid for training, or if it was supposed to be quid pro quo, but no 13 year old can validate that.
 

Max G.

Legend
Yeah, that contract as described is nonsense. A 13 year old can’t sign away her lifetime earnings (because she’s a minor) and her dad can’t sign away her earnings (because they’re not his).
 
This is exactly what I thought. I couldn't believe people on this forum were somehow criticizing Naomi for what her father 'supposedly' did when she was just a child! The coach should've known better. Even if he had authenticated the contract, it wasn't something Naomi consented too since she was only 13 years old and her father supposedly orchestrated it! What a terrible case.
how about doing a search for the south florida news paper's article about this issue before spouting off? the family lived like locusts, roaming from coach to coach and then bagging out; all done for free under the promise that they will pay them back if she makes it. well she makes it and then they stick it to them.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Good to know that this "coach" must have lost money on legal fees. He should be made to repay Osaka's legal fees too.
 

accidental

Hall of Fame
how about doing a search for the south florida news paper's article about this issue before spouting off? the family lived like locusts, roaming from coach to coach and then bagging out; all done for free under the promise that they will pay them back if she makes it. well she makes it and then they stick it to them.
Well that means all those coaches who agreed to that are idiots at best, and predatory criminals at worst and frankly probably deserve to get stiffed.

This is a common tactic used by people smugglers. Ie I will help you make it in a new country, you just have to pay me this extortionate amount later and work for me for x period of time.

If she was working on a farm or in a factory somewhere instead of playing tennis, would you still be calling Naomi Osaka a locust for refusing to pay back her dads terrible deals?
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
how about doing a search for the south florida news paper's article about this issue before spouting off? the family lived like locusts, roaming from coach to coach and then bagging out; all done for free under the promise that they will pay them back if she makes it. well she makes it and then they stick it to them.
Naomi was 13. To blame the entire family and to somehow drag Naomi through the mud because of what her dad supposedly did? That’s a no go.
 

accidental

Hall of Fame
This is exactly what I thought. I couldn't believe people on this forum were somehow criticizing Naomi for what her father 'supposedly' did when she was just a child! The coach should've known better. Even if he had authenticated the contract, it wasn't something Naomi consented too since she was only 13 years old and her father supposedly orchestrated it! What a terrible case.
It’s mind blowing. It seems a lot of people think if you write something on the back of a napkin and 2 people sign it, that makes it a legal contract. No matter how many laws it breaks
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Just read the post you quoted and it explicitly says

“A contract made by a minor or made by a parent or guardian of a minor, or a contract proposed to be so made, may be approved...[however] No contract shall be approved, if the term during which the minor is to perform or render services or during which a person is employed to render services to a minor, including any extensions thereof by option or otherwise, extends for a period of more than 3 years from the date of approval of the contract."

The deal was done when Naomi was 13, she started earning the big bucks til she was 19. So it was more than 3 years. Also that wasn’t what the ruling was, it mentioned that Naomi disavowed the contract as she was just 13.
 

Tshooter

Legend
Just read the post you quoted and it explicitly says

“A contract made by a minor or made by a parent or guardian of a minor, or a contract proposed to be so made, may be approved...[however] No contract shall be approved, if the term during which the minor is to perform or render services or during which a person is employed to render services to a minor, including any extensions thereof by option or otherwise, extends for a period of more than 3 years from the date of approval of the contract."

The deal was done when Naomi was 13, she started earning the big bucks til she was 19. So it was more than 3 years. Also that wasn’t what the ruling was, it mentioned that Naomi disavowed the contract as she was just 13.
I didn't quote my post, I linked to it. And you quoted back the portion of the FL statute I quoted providing for an exception (court approval) to the general rule relating to the voidability of contracts by minors. Helpful as always I also provided a link to the full statute. :)

As my original post mentioned even if the coach had sought court approval of the purported contract the court could not have approved it due to the duration. Hence, no exception applies and the contract is subject to the general rule that a minor can void a contract. Follow ?

As I said, a parent entering into a contract on behalf of a minor child was not the problem for the coach. The FL law specifically contemplates it. However, you need court approval and the substance of the contract must meet certain conditions before the court can even consider approving it among those the duration can not exceed 3 years from the date of approval.

If you have any questions relating to long-arm statutes as they pertain to cheating players from former USSR countries I direct you to @SoBad who is expert in the area and I suspect has used his skills to assist a certain cheat in evading justice for certain egregious activity committed on or about Old Court #7 at the USO.
 
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Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
I didn't quote my post, I linked to it. And you quoted back the portion of the FL statute I quoted providing for an exception (court approval) to the general rule relating to the voidability of contracts by minors. Helpful as always I also provided a link to the full statute. :)

As my original post mentioned even if the coach had sought court approval of the purported contract the court could not have approved it due to the duration. Hence, no exception applies and the contract is subject to the general rule that a minor can void a contract. Follow ?

As I said, a parent entering into a contract on behalf of a minor child was not the problem for the coach. The FL law specifically contemplates it. However, you need court approval and the substance of the contract must meet certain conditions before the court can even consider approving it.

If you have any questions relating to long-arm statutes as they pertain to cheating players from former USSR countries I direct you to @SoBad who is expert in the area.
I think I follow but i'm not sure, I guess that's why i'm not in the law industry! You say that Naomi being a minor wasn't an issue but it seems the court ruling disagrees? I mean they did make reference to the fact Naomi disavowed herself to the contract. Seems the big issue was it wasn't brought to the court in the first place but they did mention her being a minor.
 

Bartelby

Talk Tennis Guru
I think he's saying that in Florida that only a court can specifically approve a contract with a minor with certain conditions such as a maximum duration of up to three years, but not otherwise.

This did not happen here. Perhaps elsewhere such arrangements are not even possible with court approval. Hence, they are always disavowable by the child.

Bob Dylan's manager got him out of a disastrous contract because it was entered into before he was eighteen, so lucky Bob.

The coach in this circumstance should simply have written a contract with the parents for some sort of reimbursement of fees and expenses when they were in a position to pay.

This is obviously not as rewarding as getting a cut of the action, but that's the problem with teaching.

Why do we train people to replace us or, as here, do far better than us?
 

Tshooter

Legend
I think I follow but i'm not sure, I guess that's why i'm not in the law industry! You say that Naomi being a minor wasn't an issue but it seems the court ruling disagrees? I mean they did make reference to the fact Naomi disavowed herself to the contract. Seems the big issue was it wasn't brought to the court in the first place but they did mention her being a minor.
I'm sorry I have not been clear. However, I did not say in any post that Naomi being a minor wasn't as issue.

Without reference to statutes:

(1) you can enter into a contract with a minor but the minor can generally get out if it if they want until they are Majority age.

(2) some states will allow greater certainty with certain types of contracts with Minors (e.g., pertaining to child athletes or entertainers). You may be able to enforce a contract entered into with a Minor in these states but it generally requires you to go to a guardian type of court and get the court to approve the contract. There are generally required procedures for placing any money generated by the child into trust for the child. And in FL a court won't approve a contract with a minor if the duration exceeds three years. So this percentage of lifetime earnings contract :rolleyes: was not going to fly even if court approval was sought which if I understand the facts here it was not.
 
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SoBad

G.O.A.T.
I didn't quote my post, I linked to it. And you quoted back the portion of the FL statute I quoted providing for an exception (court approval) to the general rule relating to the voidability of contracts by minors. Helpful as always I also provided a link to the full statute. :)

As my original post mentioned even if the coach had sought court approval of the purported contract the court could not have approved it due to the duration. Hence, no exception applies and the contract is subject to the general rule that a minor can void a contract. Follow ?

As I said, a parent entering into a contract on behalf of a minor child was not the problem for the coach. The FL law specifically contemplates it. However, you need court approval and the substance of the contract must meet certain conditions before the court can even consider approving it among those the duration can not exceed 3 years from the date of approval.

If you have any questions relating to long-arm statutes as they pertain to cheating players from former USSR countries I direct you to @SoBad who is expert in the area and I suspect has used his skills to assist a certain cheat in evading justice for certain egregious activity committed on or about Old Court #7 at the USO.
Stop talking nonsense and do your homework. I need you to summarize Young v. Weaver (https://caselaw.findlaw.com/al-court-of-civil-appeals/1179933.html) for me, including a thorough breakdown of the appellate decision.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
So what's the conclusion? That minors have a limited capacity to enter into commercial agreements?

Alert the media!!
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
(1) Hire a lawyer if banking on a big deal involving a contract.

(2) All TTW discussions eventually end up down the rabbit hole.

(3) Some bad stuff happened out on Ct. #7.
(3) Melzer should be showering Berankis with cash and kissing his feet.

(2) A discussion starts with an agenda and ends with a conclusion.

(1) We enter into agreements every 5 minutes without any way of knowing which one will hit it big. N'esce pas?
 

Paul Coffey

New User
If we are to conclude Osaka would not have had the career success she does without these coaches, at the very least there needs to be a methodology and legal framework whereby coaches have incentive to apply their efforts to talented potential future athletes?

This situation just puts everyone in a quandary. So I guess only the wealthy and affluent get the best coaches huh?

What a surprise.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
If we are to conclude Osaka would not have had the career success she does without these coaches, at the very least there needs to be a methodology and legal framework whereby coaches have incentive to apply their efforts to talented potential future athletes?

This situation just puts everyone in a quandary. So I guess only the wealthy and affluent get the best coaches huh?

What a surprise.
It should be up to the coach to convince us that BUT FOR his efforts...
 
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