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NEW YORK — For Snoop Dogg, nothing comes easy — even starting a youth football league.
New York-based Natural Resources Media & Technology Group has filed suit against the rapper’s Snoop Youth Football League Foundation, alleging the foundation made a deal for a reality television series chronicling Snoop’s involvement in the league in violation of a pre-existing deal with 20th Century Fox to develop a similar feature film.
According to the complaint, filed last week in New York Supreme Court, the June deal purportedly gave Natural Resources exclusive pay-per-view, cable, home video and other video footage rights for the league in exchange for raising and providing more than $100,000 for the production and splitting revenue with the foundation.
But when Fox got wind of the planned production, its senior vp legal affairs Michael Ross sent a letter to the parties involved — which include Maryland-based production company TV One, Beverly Hills- based Strange Fruit Film and TV, and Jacksonville, Fla.-based Axcess Sports & Entertainment — informing them of Fox’s “exclusive rights to portray Snoop in any motion picture or television project or other production based on Snoop’s involvement with his sons’ football teams and leagues.”
Fox is currently developing a feature entitled “Coach Snoop” with screenwriters Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin. “Fox already has made a huge investment in our project and if you continue to move forward with your television project in violation of Fox’s rights, it will severely impact the viability of our theatrical motion picture,” Ross wrote in a letter dated Oct. 13.
Natural Resources alleges production on the show, which was to feature the on- and off-the-field activities of Snoop and his 9- to 12-year-old players leading up to the “Snooperbowl,” a championship game planned to coincide with Super Bowl XLI, was halted immediately and the “parties with whom plaintiff had contracted for the recording and broadcasting of the event withdrew from their agreements and ceased recording the events,” according to the complaint.
Natural Resources, run by Corey Simmons, alleges it informed Snoop after receiving Fox’s letter that he was in breach of the contract by failing to own the rights the foundation had licensed. “They did not respond to our request that they cure the breach,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Rochester, N.Y.-based sole practitioner Bradley Rosen. Fox is not named as a defendant.
The rapper’s attorney on the case, Donald Etra, did not respond to requests for comment. The letter from Fox’s Ross indicates Snoop’s transaction attorney on the matter was Stephen Barnes of Barnes Morris Klein Mark Yorn Barnes & Levine.
The complaint alleges a single cause of action for breach of contract and seeks $250,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees.
The case is Natural Resources Media & Technology Group vs. Snoop Youth Football League Foundation, 06-604453.
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