Leaf Trading Cards has filed suit against Dallas Cowboys receiver Cee Dee Lamb over what it claims is the breach of autographed trading card deal.
Attorneys for the Dallas based trading card maker say Lamb didn’t fulfill a signed agreement to sign cards for the company, leaving the company “unable to fulfill orders from customers who had received redemption cards that would be exchanged for a card signed by Lamb.”
The result of the dispute with Lamb is for “less than $100,000” according to court papers obtained by SC Daily.
It’s believed to be the first time that a trading card company has filed suit against a player for not providing autographs as part of a contract. Card makers are often forced to reach out to agents of players who are slow to fulfill their obligations but don’t go further to avoid upsetting a wider group of players who they need to fulfill a never ending need for signed cards in products.
When a player doesn’t return his signed cards in time for “pack out,” redemption cards are placed in packs that can be exchanged for the signed card once the athlete completes the signing. Other times, card makers offer another player’s signed card from a supply that’s kept on hand. Players are typically paid per signature and the lawsuit indicates that was the case with Lamb.
Leaf CEO Brian Gray stated on Twitter that the suit filed in Denton County, TX was “to compel the completion of an autograph contract so customers holding redemptions are not forced to take replacements.”
Collectors have been known to wait multiple years for a signed card they were promised. Sometimes the autographs never come.
Lamb did sign stickers and cards for Leaf ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft and some of those cards are for sale on eBay, but Leaf’s suit indicates they had a deal in place for more.
Leaf says Lamb “failed and refused to provide to Leaf the required number of autographed Leaf trading cards and signatures,” an act that “caused significant damage to Leaf, including loss of income and loss of good will with customers.”
Gray’s company is seeking damages and attorney fees. They asked the court to serve Lamb with the suit at his home or the Dallas Cowboys’ offices.
In his first two NFL seasons, Lamb caught 153 passes for 2,037 yards and 11 touchdowns.