UCLA Wednesday voluntarily dismissed its breach of contract lawsuit against the Under Armour athletic apparel company in federal court while pursuing the complaint in state court.
UCLA sued Under Armour last month, alleging the company used the COVID-19 pandemic as a “pretext” to dissolve its $280 million, 15-year sponsorship agreement with the university and seeking more than $200 million in damages.
No reason was given for the removal action. Cases involving contracts are usually heard in state court while federal judges preside over cases where there are questions about constitutional rights.
Baltimore-based Under Armour announced in June it was pulling out of the contract with UCLA — among the largest apparel agreements in collegiate sports history — because of losses stemming from the shutdown of college athletics due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Armour said in a statement when the lawsuit was filed that while the company is “disappointed that UCLA elected to file suit, we are confident in our position and will defend it vigorously.
“We sought and remain open to working out a reasonable and appropriate transition for the university, and most importantly for the student-athletes,” the statement said. “In fact, at UCLA’s request after the termination of the agreement, Under Armour continued to deliver athletic products for the 2020-21 school year because we support athletes, even as it remains uncertain when sports will resume.”
Under Armour and UCLA signed the deal in May 2016 with the apparel and footwear company agreeing to provide the Bruins with at least $280 million in financial support, including monetary payments and products over 15 years. The deal went into effect in July 2017.
“By 2020, Under Armour wanted to get out of that deal–not because of anything UCLA did, but because the deal now seemed too expensive for the financially troubled sportswear company,” UCLA alleges in the federal suit.
“Under Armour decided that it would use the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to `terminate’ the sponsorship agreement. But neither the governing agreement nor the law allows Under Armour to do so. This action seeks to hold Under Armour to the promises that it made.”
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