On Friday May 30 the ongoing legal, public and social media battle over use of the name “Tacoma Stars” and its traditional logo came to a head when Dion Earl (who has been granted a franchise in the new Major Arena Soccer League, or MASL) continued his Facebook posting with his brashest claims so far. They were quickly answered by Lane Smith first in a return social media denial and then by a series of legal documents that have been obtained by goalWA.net.
Smith was contacted for clarification after Dion Earl posted the following statement on the Stars’ Facebook Page, a page that is now part of the legal proceedings:
Breaking news everybody:
I have been advised by my legal team to move full steam ahead with using the name Tacoma Stars for the up and coming MASL season. I have also been advised that Mr. Lane Smith’s legal team have agreed to this and to not interfere in any way with the launch of this team or preventing me from using the name the Tacoma Stars. Furthermore, Mr. Lane Smith and his legal team have offered their cooperation with the MASL, and the arena deal to be announced. There will be an official announcement on Friday, June 18th in the morning as to who the head coach will be and the arena we will be playing in. We will also announce the first wave of official open tryouts for the team at this time. I am looking forward to putting a quality product on the field and competing at the highest level of indoor soccer. I am also accepting applications for anybody that would like to be a part of this. I have an open door policy and it will always remain open no matter how big this team gets. Yes everybody, I will soon have a full time PR person for all these posts. I know many of you have commented on my writing. Well, I have never claimed to be a writer. However, I am hoping that if I put a quality product on the field that I will be forgiven. Very much looking forward to this challenge and to be a part of history for everybody in the State of Washington, which I love so dearly.
Dion L Earl,Owner/Player Coach of The Tacoma Stars#11
Smith’s reply to goalWA.net was this: “The Tacoma Soccer Center owns the Tacoma Stars.” Earl’s post was deleted a few hours after it went online.
On Facebook Smith was more direct and seemingly emotional. Smith posted on the Tacoma Stars Facebook Page:
THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE !!!! REMOVE ASAP. THE TACOMA SOCCER CENTER OWNS THE TACOMA STARS ! LANE SMITH HAS AGREED TO NOTHING AND WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT WHAT HE HAS LEGALLY PURCHASED. SHAME ON YOU DION EARL !
goalWA.net has been monitoring the legal paperwork generated by this issue. After the social media outburts of Friday a stream of new documents went online. These legal filings detail how under oath Marian Bowers testified to being the owner of the Tacoma Stars. They further detail that a judge has allowed the sale of the name “Tacoma Stars” to Lane Smith out of Bowers’ bankruptcy. Finally, they contain a declaration by Mark Waldron in regards to the name “Tacoma Stars” and the rights to gain exclusive access to use of the current Tacoma Stars website and Facebook Page. Waldron is listed as the “Attorney for the Trustee.”
They also detail how Smith’s group believes the federal ruling giving him approval to purchase the Stars trumps recent registration by Earl to patent the name Tacoma Stars at the Washington State Government level.
The final document lists June 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM as the date of the hearing. See links to complete documents with a few image ‘highlights’ below. One important difference between these and earlier legal documents is that now Dion Earl is listed as “Defendant.” These are PUBLIC documents.
The Lane Smith group’s first job is to establish that Bowers did own the Tacoma Stars. To do so they went back to 2013 testimony by Bowers herself. See this highlight:
The Smith group requests the following to be granted at the June 25 hearing: