The discovery phase of Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour rolls on toward a 2015 trial, with the PGA Tour now looking for documents from Singh’s representation at mega firm IMG.
On Nov. 12, PGA Tour lawyer Anthony Dreyer filed a motion asking Judge Eileen Bransten to commission the Common Pleas Court in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where Cleveland is and IMG is headquartered, to issue a subpoena for internal documentation related to Singh dating from 2012 to the present “concerning any agreement or potential agreement between Vijay Singh and any sponsor or potential sponsor.” The subpoena would also compel IMG to provide depositions for the case.
“The Tour cannot obtain this information directly from Mr. Singh because Mr. Singh would not have communications internal to IMG or between IMG representatives and potential sponsors, and indeed has produced no such documents in response,” Dreyer wrote in the filing.
Bransten has granted the motion pending any appeal from Singh, whose representation did not object to the filing.
If granted — and any necessary subpoenas from the Common Pleas Court are obtained — then IMG would be required to submit documentation under the motion by December 15 and depositions to take place on Jan. 15, 2015.
Singh sued the PGA Tour in May 2013, on the eve of the tour’s flagship Players Championship, over their handling of his admission in a Jan. 2013 Sports Illustrated piece that he had used a product called deer-antler spray. The product contains trace amounts of IGF-1, an ingredient found on the tour’s list of banned substances in its anti-doping program manual. Under program rules, Singh’s admission of using a substance containing a banned substance was tantamount to a positive test. The tour held Singh’s earnings in escrow while his case was investigated, and Singh says the tour told him that money could be lost if an appeal of their findings. The tour planned to suspend Singh for 90 days for the admission, but consulted with the World Anti-Doping Agency before announcing the punishment. WADA said it no longer considers oral ingestion of IGF-1 grounds for penalty because the insulin-like drug can only be absorbed by the body through the blood stream.
In his suit, Singh claimed he was treated differently than peers with similar cases — namely Mark Calcavecchia, who used the product in 2011 and wasn’t punished — and that the PGA Tour acted negligently in its investigation, ultimately damaging his reputation and causing emotional distress.
In February, the tour’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit was partially rejected, with four causes of action propelling the suit toward a ’15 trial.