Judge Says Jury Can Decide Pacquiao Spinoff Lawsuit
Posted Wednesday, September 5 – 10:52 a.m.
A waiter who alleges he’s owed $8.6 million for helping to set up Manny Pacquiao’s 2015 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. will himself have to face trial of a lawsuit brought by a Beverly Hills businessman who says he deserves half of a $10,000 finder’s fee related to the set-up of the boxing match, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy gave the go-ahead for a jury to decide most of the issues in Richard “Richie” Palmer’s lawsuit, although the judge said he was taking under submission Palmer’s causes of action against Gabriel Rueda for alleged false promise and punitive damages.
Murphy denied Rueda’s motions to dismiss Palmer’s other causes of action, including his contractual claims.
In addition to the part of the case that will be decided by a jury, Palmer, who founded the Mulberry Street Pizzeria chain and was once married to actress Raquel Welch, wants a court to find that he is entitled to 50 percent of what Rueda may obtain through any judgment in the server’s own case, including an equal split of $10,000 he says Rueda already received.
Palmer maintains that Rueda called him in May 2014 and promised he would give him a split of his finder’s fee if Palmer could convince Freddie Roach, then Pacquiao’s trainer, to meet with CBS President Leslie Moonves regarding a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Palmer says he arranged a get-together between Roach and Moonves later that month at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills. Palmer notes that Rueda then filed his lawsuit against Pacquiao, Roach and others.
“Rueda has failed to mention my name whatsoever in his complaint or detail the agreement entered into by the two of us,” Palmer says in a sworn statement attached to his court papers.
Rueda’s lawyer, Amman Khan, told the judge that Rueda did not conceal anything from Palmer.
In his still-pending lawsuit, part of which is on appeal, Rueda alleges extortion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of an oral contract, fraud and unjust enrichment. In addition to Pacquiao and Roach, Rueda’ complaint names CBS, Showtime Entertainment and former Stormy Daniels attorney Keith Davidson, described in the plaintiff’s court papers as a lawyer for “Roach, Pacquiao and a few other powerful people.”
Rueda’s suit states that he served Moonves while working at Craig’s restaurant in West Hollywood and told Moonves he could introduce him to Roach in order to break the ice between Al Haymon and Bob Arum, the promoters for Mayweather and Pacquiao, respectively.
The lawsuit states that Rueda arranged a meeting between Roach and Moonves, with an agreement that he would get a 2 percent finder’s fee of gross fight proceeds paid to CBS, Showtime Network, Pacquiao and Roach.
But according to Palmer’s court papers, Roach refused to take Rueda’s calls about the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, but Rueda knew that Palmer was a close friend of Roach. Rueda asked Palmer to intervene and talk to Roach, saying “we can make a lot of money,” according to Palmer’s court papers.
Roach later agreed to talk with Moonves as a favor to Palmer, according to Palmer’s court papers. After the meeting was established, Palmer called Rueda to tell him and to reaffirm their verbal agreement that they would equally split any finder’s fees Rueda received for getting Roach and Moonves together, according to Palmer’s court papers.
Showtime Entertainment gave Rueda a ticket to the fight, a night’s stay in Las Vegas and a $10,000 check to cover the rest of his hotel and travel expenses, according to Palmer’s court papers.
In his own declaration, Roach says he was unaware that Palmer and Rueda expected to receive a finder’s fee for setting up a meeting between the trainer and Moonves.
“Had anyone told me or indicated that they expected a cash fee or any compensation for setting up that meeting, I certainly would not have gone,” Roach says.
Roach further said he did not know Rueda and that “he had to be convinced to go to the meeting.”
Pacquiao, hobbled by a shoulder injury, lost to Mayweather by unanimous decision when the two fought on May 2, 2015.