Bell v. Shah

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

04/27/2005

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Florida, Connecticut

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$10,000.00
Joel Bell is an agent for numerous professional athletes in the NBA and elsewhere. Prerak Shah's website, Draftcity.com, specialized in reporting on the prospects of potential draftees of the NBA. Jonathan Givony was a reporter and writer for DraftCity focusing on scouting... read full description
Parties

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Joel Bell; Bell Management International, Inc.

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Prerak Shah; Jonathan Givony; Draftcity.com

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland

Location of Party: 

  • Florida
  • Connecticut

Legal Counsel: 

Pro Se (Givony); Thomas Norton (Shah, Draftcity.com)
Description

Joel Bell is an agent for numerous professional athletes in the NBA and elsewhere. Prerak Shah's website, Draftcity.com, specialized in reporting on the prospects of potential draftees of the NBA. Jonathan Givony was a reporter and writer for DraftCity focusing on scouting of players. On April 9, 2005, DraftCity published an article under Givony's byline about Bell and potential draft NBA draft pick, Kelenna Azubuike. In the article, Givony wrote that "[t]he word 'scumbag' came up again and again in conversations around [Bell]," and that Bell was "widely known as an extremely sketchy agent who has no problem bribing greedy parents with offers of $50,000 or so in order to convince their kids to flush their career down the toilet."

In a subsequent article on April 12, 2005, Givony indicated that he had received many emails and phone calls in response to the April 9 article and wrote: "My comments a few days ago on Joel Bell were definitely out of line, even if there is some truth to it. This was a heat of the moment type thing, but the way it was worded was unprofessional." He also explained that "from what I've been told over the past few days, there is no way in hell that Joel Bell would have given [Azubuike] $50,000 to sign with him becausee it would take years and years for his agent to make that back based on the 4% he'll be making off either his 2nd round contract or the money he'll make in Europe."

In a third article published on April 17, 2005 under the heading "Kelenna Azubuike Clarification," Givony wrote: "I have no first hand knowledge of Mr. Bell's activities as an agent or his motivations and actions in respect to Kelenna Azubuike. Indeed, I have never met Mr. Bell. That being said, I would like to reiterate that I did indeed hear several things from numerous people that attended the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament about Mr. Bell, his actions as an agent, and his reputation in the industry."

In late April 2005, Bell and his company, Bell Management, sued Shah, DraftCity, and Givony in federal district court in Connecticut. The complaint asserted a claim for defamation and requested $25M in damages. Pursuant to a settlement agreement, Bell dropped Shah and Draftcity.com from the suit in September 2005. The action proceeded against Givony, a resident of Florida. The federal court in Connecticut held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Givony, and transferred the case to the Southern District of Florida. See Bell v. Shah, No. 3:05CV00671, 2006 WL 860588 (D. Conn. March 31, 2006).

Bell subsequently settled with Givony, and the case was dismissed. The MLRC is reporting that the settlement involved $10,000.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • Personal Jurisdiction
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Florida
  • Connecticut

Source of Law: 

  • Connecticut

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Connecticut; United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

3:05CV00671 (Connecticut); 1:06-CV-21063 (Florida)

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Threat Source: 

MLRC

CMLP Notes: 

SB Reviewed; to-do: get the Connecticut district court's opinion off PACER; get any documents in district court in Florida. SB has Westlaw copy of the Southern District of Florida docket, where it appears that the case has settled; check for settlement amount if available

it appears from complaint that there was a threatening letter on April 13, 2005 (see para. 19-20 of complaint) to-do: create database entry for threatening letter