Affirmative Injunctions in Athletic Employment Contracts: Rethinking the Place of the Lumley Rule in American Sports Law
26 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2005 Last revised: 22 Feb 2009
In this short piece, I argue that the Lumley rule, which allows negative but not affirmative injunctions in personal services contracts, should be abolished in the sports law context. The problem of athletes holding out and demanding mid-term renegotiation of contracts has become pervasive. Existing legal remedies are inadequate for deterring such conduct and compensating teams for their players' contractual breaches. I argue that the doctrinal foundation for the Lumley rule has no place in sports law. Courts need not be concerned that players will deliver sub-par performances after the issuance of an injunction; monitoring would be relatively painless; and the Thirteenth Amendment should not bar such relief. I then discuss the problems associated with holding out that demand legal reform.
Keywords: Sports law, athletes, contracts, holding out, Lumley, injunction, affirmative injunction
JEL Classification: J00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation