Settlement ends Wade restaurant trial
With a broad smile after the deals were announced, Dwyane Wade celebrated Tuesday after settling four cases with various former South Florida business partners, including one that brought a quick end to a trial involving two former associates who wanted $25 million after a restaurant deal went sour.
Court was delayed for unexplained reasons for nearly three hours. All parties, including Wade, walked into the courtroom at 2:02 p.m., and the settlement was announced eight minutes later.
Wade said the agreements were struck moments before.
"I'm very pleased,'' the Heat star said. "I'm very pleased. Of course I can't say terms, but I'm smiling, and you know if I smile, it's a good thing.''
Judge Peter Adrien also said the sides worked out deals on other cases, which include another trial brought by some of the ex-restaurant partners alleging Wade walked away from an agreement to license his name to for charter schools. A libel case where Wade is suing another ex-partner remains unsettled.
"It's a win-win situation for both sides,'' Adrien told the jury. "At this time, your service is completed.''
Nearly three weeks after the trial began with jury selection, that six-person panel, along with one alternate, never got to deliberate.
And now Wade gets to tend to other matters: His looming free agency, which he'll declare for by July 1, and ongoing divorce and custody cases in Chicago, where the NBA star plans to return Wednesday.
Wade said his sons, ages 8 and 3, now "get their daddy back.''
The restaurant case was brought against Wade by plaintiffs Mark Rodberg and Lauren Hollander, Rodberg's sister, who said they lost millions when the Miami guard bailed from a plan to develop a line of sports-themed eateries with his name and likeness.
Wade was seeking damages in the restaurant case as well, saying his name and likeness were used in ways he did not approve, which would have violated the original agreement between the sides.
Moments after the settlement was announced, a slightly surreal scene broke out: All parties, judge and jury included, took seats in the jury box to pose for a team photo of sorts taken by the bailiff. Wade and Rodberg sat next to each other; Wade's attorney Michael Kreitzer was on the Heat star's left, smiling broadly.
"I think we wanted to show how excited we were and how appreciative we were to the jury for really sticking it out,'' Wade said. "They've been here long and it's taken their lives away from them as well. It's unfortunate, but because of them, we were able to come to this resolution.''
Rodberg and Hollander's side approached Wade's side last week, offering a settlement. It's believed Wade paid a sum that was substantially less than the $25 million originally sought.
"They were the ones that said they were interested in trying to resolve the case,'' Kreitzer said.
Dwyane Wade was seeking damages against his restaurant partners for using his name and likeness in ways he did not approve.Alan Diaz
Rodberg, Hollander and their attorneys left the court without comment.
Wade originally was to receive 10 percent of the profits, plus a guaranteed $1 million over five years, and his best friend Marcus Andrews - who did much of the negotiating in the deal - was to get another 2 percent. Rodberg and another former partner, Richard von Houtman, were to evenly split the remaining 88 percent, according to testimony Wade offered during the trial.
When von Houtman did not satisfy certain responsibilities, Wade said, he and Andrews asked for a bigger share, a total of 30 percent, with Rodberg then to receive the remaining 70 percent. That request ultimately led to the demise of the business arrangement, and the restaurant chain plans ended after just two facilities were opened, both briefly.
Wade testified he was committed to making the restaurant project work, and that he believed his now-scorned partners were the right people to make that happen. He also detailed how the restaurants were marketed at Heat games and how he looked forward to bringing family and friends to the establishments.
"I wanted to have successful restaurants,'' Wade testified. "I leaned on them. I leaned on our partners to lead us there.''