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Mike Tyson's Ear-Biting During Boxing Championship Violates No Obligation to Viewers
Description Appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought by spectators of a Mike Tyson boxing fight in which Tyson was disqualified for biting his opponent's ear. The viewers were not in privity with Tyson or the fight promoters, so had no cause of action. Disqualification is a possible outcome of any fight.
Topic Contracts
Key Words Privity; Breach; Fraud; Warranties; Unjust Enrichment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Viewers who paid to watch the telecast of the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield boxing championship fight sued Tyson, the fight promoters, and the fight telecasters for a refund of their money because Tyson was disqualified for biting part Holyfield's ear off. The viewers contended that they were entitled to view a "legitimate heavyweight title fight" that was fought "in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations" of the boxing commission. They claimed breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, breach of express and implied warranties, fraud, and other counts. The trial court dismissed the suit. Viewers appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "Plaintiffs are not in contractual privity with any of the defendants, and their claims that they are third-party beneficiaries of one or more of the contracts that defendants entered into among themselves was aptly rejected by [the lower court] as 'contrived.' Nothing in these contracts can be understood as promising a fight that did not end in a disqualification. The rules of the governing commission provide for disqualification, and it is a possibility that a fight fan can reasonably expect." The plaintiffs paid for what they got: "the right to view whatever event transpired."
Citation Castillo v. Tyson, 701 N.Y.S.2d 423 (Sup. Ct., App. Div., N.Y., 2000)

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