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Seahawks v. 49ers Game to Resolve Dispute? Possible but not Probable

How confident are you that the Seahawks will beat the 49ers on December 8?  One Northwest Business owner is so confident that he is betting his entire company on it.  You might ask, well who would consider that bet?  The answer:  the company suing him.

To make sense of this you need a bit of background.  First the man placing the bet is Mike Hanson the owner of Craigstruck.com.  What does Craigstruck do?   You guessed it, they pick up stuff that customers buy on Craiglist.com and deliver it to their front doors.  The company has been around for a few years, is located in Seattle and has a registered trademark for the name “Craigstruck”.  Good idea, huh?  Well, not everyone thinks so, and by everyone we really just mean Craigslist.  After Craigslist (you know the online publication where you sell your used furniture) heard about Craigstruck, they sued it in Federal Court in San Francisco alleging trademark infringement and a variety of other things.   The case is still in its infancy and apparently a mediation is scheduled to occur in February 2014; however Mike Hanson hopes to resolve it before then. 

On September 19, Mike Hanson, a loyal and longtime Seahawk fan, proposed a bet on youtube to the officers of Craigslist.  The bet:  if the Seahawks beat the 49ers in San Francisco on December 8, 2013, then Craigslist has to drop the lawsuit against Craigstruck and of course fly Mike to San Francisco and take him to dinner.  And if Mike loses, he gives Craigslist the company and literally the shirt on his back.   Now that’s a real Seahawk fan, right? 

So you are probably wondering why a lawyer is writing about this, so we’ll get to the point.  As much as we would like to see Craigslist take the bet, and of course lose, we don’t think it is going to happen and here is why.  Generally speaking, any officer or director of a company has to act in the best interest of the company.  In carrying out this duty, the director or officer must apply the same judgment that an ordinary prudent business person under similar circumstances could apply.  The key word here is “could” since it really lowers the bar for the judgment that the officer must apply.    This is commonly called the business judgment rule. 

So let’s think about this.  Could a reasonably prudent officer in the same situation as the officer of Craigslist take Craigstruck’s bet believing that he is acting within the best interest of the company by taking the bet?  Wait for it….  Absolutely Not! First, and the most obvious, is that there is no way in the world the 49ers are going to beat the Seahawks on December 8, so it would be a horrible bet to take!  Second, and practically speaking, we don’t think the decision would survive the business judgment rule; that is, no reasonably prudent business officer could honestly wager the dismissal of lawsuit against a company based on another team beating the Seahawks in a football game.

So although we like the bet and we think it would be interesting, we don’t think anything is going to come from it.  Sorry, Mike. 

If you want to learn more about the story or the bet you can click on the following links.  The first takes you to the story by KOMO news about the bet and the second is the bet on youtube. 



Oh yeah, and most importantly, Go Hawks!

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