Ring City hit by eight-count trial
Ring City USA will proceed to the courtroom.
boxing scene confirmed that the creators of Ring City USA—Offabbot—received an eight-count complaint filed by serial researcher and content producer Mark Ortega. The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
According to Ortega and his legal team, they alleged:
- non-payment of wages;
- waiting time penalties;
- Failure to reimburse business expenses;
- Failure to provide detailed and accurate salary statements in a timely manner;
- Unfair trade practices in violation of California business;
- Breach of contract
Ortega seeks compensatory damages and penalties for unpaid wages, out-of-pocket expenses and additional compensation owed.
CEO of Offabbot, Ring City LLC, Ring City Inc., Frank Samuel and production manager Lauren Bayer were named as defendants in the 71-page lawsuit.
Ortega has been a longtime member of the boxing media, he also works as a producer for Fox Sports and was hired to work on Ring City’s first three events when it launched a few years ago.
The series aired on November 19, 2020, with Ortega providing research for this show as part of a deal that had been signed around November 14, 2020.
The series received a lot of praise, its concept was to offer the best fights without promotional release offers.
For each event Ring City, broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and simulcast live on its Twitch channel, had also worked alongside different promoters. Their main promoter was Bash Boxing, licensed only.
Under the agreement, Ortega was going to be compensated for his services on Nov. 18-19, Dec. 2-3, and Dec. 17-18 for fighter meetings and fight night for their three shows in 2020.
Ortega was paid $800 by remote deposit for each of the three shows, totaling $2,400 for services rendered.
The trial extended to a one-year deal in 2021, where Ortega agreed to a base annual salary of $100,000, 12 monthly installments of $8,333.33.
The complaint stated that the parties “did not sign a formal employment contract for the Plaintiff’s services in 2021, but the material terms of the Plaintiff’s employment in 2021 were recorded, offered and accepted via email exchanges. between Plaintiff ORTEGA and Defendant BAYER, who acted as agent for Defendants OFFABBOTT, RING CITY LLC and RING CITY INC with authority to bind OFFABBOT, RING CITY LLC and RING CITY INC to such contract of employment. »
The parties intended to air 14 episodes of the live boxing series without promotion in 2021. There was a short delay to release the series over the new year, then they announced a three-fight block for march.
These were all broadcast live from Puerto Rico.
They were part of six events due to be held ahead of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After the Olympics, there were to be eight shows for the rest of the year. The series was then to be one of many projects migrating to NBCN’s Peacock streaming platform.
Ring City only aired four shows ending in April. There was more trouble and damage happening afterwards.
The complaint claims that Ortega was paid in full for his services in January and February.
He received monthly payments. He received no payment for his work in March and April. These were the only months the series aired in 2021. This started the fight with Ortega to try to get the rest of his guaranteed annual salary.
Ortega continued to work with Ring City, and he continued to produce content external to the actual events of fight night. The complaint alleges that as of June 1, Ring City was three months behind on payments to Ortega for his work. Then they wired a payment of $8,333.33 on June 18, 2021 for services provided in March. They issued another full payment on June 24 for services in April.
It was the last payment Ortega received until October 1. The lawsuit says the defendants offered only partial payment of $4,000 on Nov. 12 for his June services. They offered the same amount on December 1.
He was paid $4,000 more on Christmas Eve. Ortega claims he continued to honor his deal through Dec. 31, even though he still owed $46,333.35 when his employment ended.
In the new year, the results were similar and he received only limited payments on four different dates. On April 15, Ortega received $16,500, but he still owed him $29,833.35 on April 16. This led him to take legal action.
The most damaging claim was that he accused Offabot of forging his signature on a confidentiality agreement, which would have been part of a settlement agreement reached by the parties.
The parties reached an agreement in principle on June 24. There was also a proposed confidentiality agreement which Ortega rejected. The defendants would have liked a confidentiality clause to be added to the agreement.
Ortega was unaware of the defendant’s actions, having reached a settlement agreement for $24,999.99 on July 22. It would be distributed in split payments. The first half of $12,500 was immediately due upon execution.
Defendants issued three different payments at two different times, amounts of $6,250 and $4,000 paid by two separate PayPal transfers to and after that $3,250 by wire transfer to Ortega’s attorney’s trust account .
The remaining $12,499 had to be paid by August 1. Ortega’s attorney was unable to contact the defendants and emailed them a Notice of Violation and Request for Healing letter on August 2. They submitted an amended notice of violation a few hours later. later. He demanded full payment by August 3 at 12:00 a.m. PT or Ortega would terminate the deal for breach of the settlement agreement.
Defendants responded to the Amended Notice of Breach that they would not pay the balance due to Ortega’s alleged breach of confidentiality. Ortega denies the validity of his signature on this agreement.
A termination letter had been provided, terminating the previous settlement agreement. Ortega researched the outstanding balance and penalties incurred.
Ortega “demands a jury trial on all matters so justiciable,” the complaint states.