Tour appeals ruling in Singh lawsuit

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Two weeks after a New York Supreme Court judge denied in part a request from the PGA Tour for summary judgment in its ongoing legal battle with Vijay Singh, the Tour appealed that decision.

On May 12, judge Eileen Bransten partially denied the Tour’s request for summary judgment regarding Singh’s claims the circuit breached its implied covenant by suspending Singh for his use of deer-antler spray before consulting with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and that Tour officials made improper public statements regarding the Fijian’s suspension.

In its appeal, lawyers for the Tour argue that Bransten “erroneously held that there is a material fact dispute as to whether the Tour breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by failing to conduct an ‘appropriate investigation’ . . .  when it did not ‘consult WADA and/or appreciate the information advanced by WADA concerning deer-antler spray prior to issuing its suspension.’

“No such implied obligation can exist as a matter of law and, in any event, Singh cannot establish that the Tour acted arbitrarily, irrationally or in bad faith.”

Tour lawyers also argue that, “Singh cannot establish that the Tour’s [public] statements were made arbitrarily, irrationally or in bad faith.”

Singh’s attorney Peter Ginsberg countered with a letter to Bransten late Friday requesting a conference to set a trail date.

“We respectfully believe, both because the Tour’s appeal has little chance of success and because this lawsuit has been pending for so long, that the matter should not be sidetracked by the Tour’s action today,” Ginsberg wrote.

Singh admitted to using deer-antler spray, which contained the banned substance IGF-1, in a 2013 Sports Illustrated article and he was initially suspended for violating the circuit’s performance-enhancing drug policy. It wasn’t until after his suspension was announced that the Tour consulted with WADA, which had previously ruled the use of deer-antler spray was not a violation if there had been no failed drug test.

The Tour does not comment on ongoing litigation.