Red Raider Outfitter Files Motion to Recuse, Asks Judge in Texas Tech Lawsuit to Step Aside
LUBBOCK, Texas, November 29, 2006 -- Red Raider Outfitter has filed a Motion to Recuse, asking U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings to step aside from the lawsuit pitting Texas Tech University against the small family-owned retailer. The case has generated nationwide attention because of Texas Tech''s efforts to shut the small alumni-owned retailer down.
Earlier this month, the judge made the unusual decision to enter a summary judgment against Red Raider Outfitter in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Texas Tech''s licensing department. Legal experts have said that most similar cases are decided after each side has argued its case, not before.
Also unusual was the Judge''s decision to award Texas Tech all revenues from Red Raider Outfitter, including those from the sale of licensed goods, which make up approximately 97 percent of the company''s sales. Many have been critical of Texas Tech for seeking the $3.5 million award despite the fact that licensing royalties from the disputed sales would have totaled just $6,500.
The Motion to Recuse states that Red Raider Outfitter "is concerned that the past and ongoing connections between the Honorable Judge Sam Cummings and Texas Tech University pose a threat to the perception of a fair and impartial trial."
The motion points to numerous connections between Judge Cummings and Texas Tech University that raise questions about his ability to rule fairly in the case. For instance:
- Judge Cummings is a 1967 graduate of Texas Tech and participated in the committee that designated Professor Susan Saab Fortney as the George H. Mahon Professor of Law at the University''s School of Law in February 2003.
- Judge Cummings is an active alumnus who was observed entering a specially designated parking lot at Jones Field to attend a Texas Tech football game during the period of time this case was being heard. Sources have reported that Judge Cummings may have received a season pass and a special parking pass from the University free of charge.
- Previous parties to a case in which Texas Tech was involved filed a Motion to Recuse Judge Cummings. Further, an article has appeared in the press discussing Judge Cummings'' refusal to recuse himself for perceived bias when Texas Tech University was a party.
- Judge Cummings'' twin brother is president of the local branch of Wells Fargo Bank, which counts the University among its largest commercial clients. Wells Fargo also has a substantial monetary interest in Texas Tech, due to its ownership of the Texas Tech student debit card system, issued to every Texas Tech student. Judge Cummings'' twin brother also serves as a director of the Texas Tech Foundation, Inc.
The dispute centers on unlicensed goods sold by Red Raider Outfitter that featured the terms "Wreck ''Em Tech" and "Raiderland," as well as the cartoon cowboy that adorns the store''s logo and sign. Each side contends it has the right to use those marks. Since the Judge''s ruling, NFL Properties, acting on behalf of the Oakland Raiders, has expressed an interest in the case, asserting that it owns the trademark on uses of the term "Raiderland."
About Red Raider Outfitter
Since 1975, Red Raider Outfitter has made and sold quality collegiate sportswear and apparel with the most innovative designs and highest standards of craftsmanship. Red Raider Outfitter is alumni owned and operated. More information is available at www.savethesmallguy.com and www.redraideroutfitter.com.