Bush seeks to move lawsuit against him to arbitration

Updated: June 6, 2008, 10:02 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Depositions in a lawsuit brought by Reggie Bush's would-be agent have been postponed until after Aug. 1, while a judge considers Bush's motion to move the case to arbitration, according to media reports.

Lloyd Lake, who had sought to represent Bush as his agent, is suing the New Orleans Saints running back for about $300,000 in cash and goods he claims to have given the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner. He has alleged that Bush and his family accepted improper benefits while still a student at USC, and he has provided information about the allegations to the NCAA, which is investigating. Bush has denied the allegations.

Lake had sought to represent Bush as an agent when he turned pro, and Lake and another man, Michael Michaels, said they were partners in a start-up sports marketing company along with Bush's stepfather, LaMar Griffin.

Michaels, who has previously said Bush's parents lived in a home he owned without paying rent while Bush was a student at USC, settled with Bush last year. His settlement includes an agreement not to talk about the case and a payment of about $300,000, according to reports.

Bush's motion asserts that the settlement with Michaels also covers his partner Lake, and that the case should be handled in confidential arbitration, rather than in a lawsuit.

"Ultimately, our position is there are no claims now" if the case goes to arbitration, Bush's attorney, David Cornwell, said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But Lake's attorneys said they suspect Bush's side is pushing for private arbitration in order to prevent Michaels from corroborating Lake's claims in testimony -- and to keep the NCAA from obtaining that information in its investigation. If the NCAA finds Bush received improper benefits, USC could face sanctions, including forfeits of wins in which Bush played, and Bush could be stripped of his Heisman.

"It's frivolous," Lake's attorney, Brian Watkins, said of the motion, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's just another delay tactic."

Bush's attorneys filed a copy of the settlement with Michaels in court on Wednesday, but financial details in the court copy are redacted, according to the Union-Tribune.

Michaels was to have been deposed in the case on Monday.

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