December 8th, 2009

Tiger Woods: One Man Bar Exam

Tiger Woods is providing a feast of legal issues as he swiftly morphs from choir boy to bad boy.  And in the process he opens up a veritable bar exam full of questions.

Since at least half of lawyering is first identifying the potential problems, let’s take a peak inside the cans of worms he opened.  Your familiarity with the facts is presumed. But since those facts are likely to change within minutes —  since the one thing the media loves more than creating heroes is destroying them, and any story will do for Tiger at the moment —  the current state of affairs is the media claiming extra-marital affairs with 6-10 women. That number changes depending on who is keeping the scorecard, but you can bet they’re all are hoping for a round of 18.

The list below is long on the criminal, matrimonial/custody and contract areas of the law, but I also see a smattering of First Amendment, intellectual property, sports and ethics.

Without further ado, and assuming many rumors as true, when some likely aren’t:

  • Domestic violence possibility;
  • Drug / alcohol related driving accident;
  • Right to silence in discussion with police (see: Tainting Tiger @ Simple Justice);
  • Drug addiction (can be an issue both for endorsements and potentially for playing golf with drugs in his system — I’m just issue spotting, I don’t know what golf’s drug rules are):
  • HIPAA violations for whoever disclosed he had overdose written on his chart when he went to the hospital after the accident;
  • Divorce;
  • Validity of pre-nuptial agreement (as well as disposition of real/personal property) given the unexpected conduct of Woods;
  • Custody of two children;
  • Custody of children if wife hauls the kids to Sweden (treaties?);
  • Taxation – While divorce settlements aren’t generally taxable,  what if a confidentiality agreement is attached to it? That  happened in Amos v. Commissioner with a personal injury claim against Dennis Rodman. (And is Woods going to re-invent himself as golf’s Dennis Rodman?);
  • Ethics, regarding lawfirms that may have leaked details of pre-nuptial agreement and/or discussions regarding modification;
  • Tiger purchasing the exclusive rights to the stories of women he has been with (a/k/a buying silence, see: JDJournal):
  • For Tiger’s Harem you can add contracts to sell stories to others, intellectual property rights regarding those stories (and photos) and the books/movies that are no doubt already being devised; and
  • Can I trademark One Man Bar Exam? And how do I put that little TM thingie in?

While Hollywood is no doubt ramping up for Tiger Woods: The Movie, I’m busy wondering about Tiger Woods: The Bar Exam.

This man could single handedly stop the bleeding of jobs from the legal sector and at the same time give law profs and bar examiners plenty to work with.

OK, so without making any jokes about his putter, or about Tiger’s Wood, what legal issues have I missed?

(Photoshopped image of “Tiger Rodman” by Dan Turkewitz)

Links to this post:

Tiger Woods and Exams?!
Have you heard enough about Tiger Woods? Well, maybe you should keep listening. Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog writes that Tiger Woods is a “One Man Bar Exam” because of the breadth of his legal difficulty.
posted by Jenny Rempel @ December 10, 2009 10:44 AM