Tucson lawyers confused about De Laura settlement being tossed raises questions about NIL involvement
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - For many college athletes Name, Image and Likeness sponsorships have been profitable. But for University of Arizona quarterback Jayden De Laura, it has turned out to be costly after the wildcat star is now forced to pay more in a civil lawsuit than previously agreed upon due to his earnings via NIL.
In a case that dates back to 2018, years before college athletes could get paid and before Jayden De Laura was an adult – much less a Power 5 quarterback. This has brought up a lot of questions about how the money he makes in this field has anything to do with this case as well as the right of a judge to be able to make such a decision.
Burt Kinerk has been an attorney for over 35 years, specializing in the sports world and working with many athletes and coaches from around the Tucson area. He says the decision in the De Laura lawsuit is something he says he’s never seen.
“I’ve never heard anything like this as far as the judge not agreeing with the amount of the settlement,” Kinerk said.
De Laura’s team agreed on a settlement from a 2018 sexual assault case in December of 2022. Reports say it was only agreed on because De Laura’s attorneys stated the amount was all the family could pay at the time.
However, due to De Laura’s new NIL earnings, the judge refused to accept the settlement “in good conscience.”
However, the earnings are something Kirnerk says shouldn’t be a factor.
“They really are making money at this, and they weren’t before. That should not enter into the equation.”
Kirnerk says it’s also the first time he’s heard of a judge not accepting a civil settlement agreed upon by both parties.
“It would be very unusual; in fact, I have never heard of the where the judge would not agree to the amount.”
Kirnerk says when two parties reach an agreement, that is usually the end of proceedings in civil lawsuits. It is only in a jury trial that we see judges not agree with settlements, which were, in that case, made by the jury.
In this case, even if De Laura went to trial, the jury wouldn’t even know about his NIL earnings.
“Juries don’t ever hear how much money you got as a defendant, how much money you can pay? That’s not part of the deal.”
De Laura’s status as a juvenile in the crime also makes Kirnerk believe there should be a clean slate, which would not include his latter earnings.
“It should not be an anvil around your neck, as far as going forward, being a good citizen, and doing what is required of you to be a good citizen,” Kirnerk said.
So, what does this mean for the future? Could it affect other athletes profiting off of NIL?
Kirnerk says it’s a cautionary tale but one we shouldn’t see again.
“It only has an impact as far as how much money the individual has, as far as settlement ability. And I don’t think it’s going to play on any day of the week.”
It’s important to note the plaintiff in this case is receiving settlements from De Laura, Wisconsin safety Kamo’i Latu and attempting to receive a settlement from the school these two athletes attended.
The judge claimed if the case went to trial, the plaintiff would make upwards of seven figures and that is part of the reason he believes the athletes should pay more.
For De Laura’s team of attorneys, their options are:
Come up with a better settlement amount or take this trial, as Kirnerk says since this was an agreement and not a ruling, it cannot be appealed through the judicial system.
The claim goes back to 2018 when the woman says she was attacked in a stairwell at St. Louis school in Honolulu. The settlement proposal was filed under seal, so we don’t know how much she was asking for.
The criminal case against De Laura was adjudicated in Hawaii juvenile court and those records are sealed under Hawaii law.
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