Leaf Trading Cards, LLC has filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against the NFL’s likely number one draft pick, Andrew Luck. The suit, filed in the 191st District Court in Dallas, was a response to a letter from Leaf’s representatives demanding that the company stop selling its Draft Pick cards because they include a special card of Luck as a high school senior.
The photo shows Luck in action during the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in San Antonio. Leaf says the suit is aimed at seeking to “preserve the company’s rights to produce and sell trading cards”.
The issue has been a contentious one among athletes and card companies of late. At stake is whether the card companies have the right to use generic action photos of famous athletes and celebrities without having a formal agreement. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently settled a case with Upper Deck over a photo from his UCLA career while astronaut Buzz Aldrin has been battling Topps over a photo in one of the company’s sets.
“Leaf’s rights are established and protected by the free speech guarantees of the United States Constitution and Texas Constitution, as well as common law and an express license from the party who produces the U.S. Army All-American Bowl,” the company stated in a news release.
The letter from Luck’s attorney says the card infringed on the Stanford quarterback’s publicity rights.
Leaf is represented in its lawsuit by O. Luke Davis, III with Glast, Phillips & Murray, P.C. in Dallas.
“Leaf Trading Cards is disappointed that it was forced to submit this matter to the judicial system,” Davis said. “We are confident, however, that the court will find that Leaf has the right to produce and sell the Andrew Luck trading cards.”