NFL claims Who Dat Inc. has avoided litigation discovery

Alejandro de los Rios Aug. 18, 2011, 12:33pm


The National Football League (NFL) claims that Who Dat Inc. has repeatedly avoided and put off its discovery obligations in the federal litigation determining the owner of the phrase "Who Dat?" most commonly associated with the New Orleans Saints.

Who Dat? Inc., run by brothers Sal and Steve Monistere, is suing the NFL, NFL Properties (NFLP), the New Orleans Saints, Liquid Ventures Inc., Logo Express Marketing Inc., Monogram Express, Storyville Apparel, and Fleurty Girl for alleged misappropriation of the phrase Who Dat on their merchandise.

The NFL claims that WDI has failed to answer requests for documents and interrogatories dating back to October 2010.

WDI has claimed that the NFL's discovery demands are "overly broad" and that many records sought by the League were lost in Hurricane Katrina.

The NFL countered that WDI's "excuse is insufficient" because less than five percent of the documents sought by the NFL pre-date Fall 2009. Hurricane Katrina made landfall and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans in August 2005.

"WDI cannot simply rely on Hurricane Katrina and its lack of recordkeeping to withhold over fifteen years' worth of documents and information that WDI itself has made directly relevant to the claims and issues in this litigation," the NFL's motion states.

New Orleans attorneys Phillip Wittmann, Michael Walshe Jr., Lesli Harris and Agnieszka McPeak; and Atlanta attorneys Jerre Swann, Christopher Bussert and James Sullivan Jr. filed the motion on behalf of the NFL on Aug. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

District Judge Carl Barbier is overseeing this case.

In January, Barbier allowed counterclaims filed by Fleurty Girl, Storyville and Who Dat Yat Chat Cafe to continue in this litigation.

New Orleans attorney Mark Edwards is representing Storyville.

On Oct. 27, he filed a defense and counterclaim against WDI.

The counterclaim states that the phrase "Who Dat" has "been applied to many sporting contests...for many decades before 1983" and that WDI "has abandoned any trademark rights it may have ever had in WHO DAT? by non-use and non-exclusive use for a significant period of time."

The Storyville counterclaim also alleges that WDI violated the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (LUTPA).

New Orleans attorney Ernest Svenson is representing Fleurty Girl.

New Orleans attorney Darleen Jacobs is representing Who Dat Yat Chat.

Federal Case 2:10-cv-01333

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