Associated Press & ESPN
A group of professional tour caddies has filed a class-action lawsuit against the PGA Tour demanding compensation for wearing bibs during competition.
In the 39-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California, the 82 caddies named as plaintiffs claim they “are made to serve as billboards to advertise, at the direction of the PGA Tour, for some of the most profitable companies in the world without compensation.”
The total damages the caddies are seeking could be in the range of “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“There may be a battle as to what the limitations period is that applies, but it’ll go back several years,” Gene Egdorf, the caddies’ Houston-based lawyer, told ESPN.com’s Michael Collins on Tuesday. “If the value of the bib is what we suspect it might be, we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in the case.”
The lawsuit claims the PGA Tour made $50 million on the bibs during the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. In some states, the statute of limitations could go back up to six years, Egdorf said, meaning upwards of $300 million.
The caddies also are asking for punitive damages, which could put the monetary figures even higher, with the argument that the PGA Tour’s “conduct was intentional, reckless, and malicious.” The lawsuit says the evidence in the case “will reveal a method of determining actual loss” for the caddies.
They also are seeking statutory damages of $750 per violation, although the definition of a violation isn’t spelled out in the court documents.
Named as the two class representatives were Mike Hicks, the caddie for Payne Stewart when he won his last U.S. Open, and Kenny Harms, who currently caddies for Kevin Na and is a board member of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.
The lawsuit incorporates caddies on the Web.com Tour and Champions Tour, and it asks for an injunction to prevent the PGA Tour from forcing caddies to wear the bibs. The plaintiffs stated they have met with PGA Tour officials to try to discuss the matter but have been told “the bib is off the table,” according to the lawsuit.