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McGuireWoods Scores Pro Bono Win for U-Turn Sports Performance Academy

When an amateur basketball club sought to monopolize a charity-based sports training facility, McGuireWoods’ lawyers sidelined the attempt, freeing the gym to help hundreds of aspiring athletes.

Tom Chewning, the former chief financial officer of McGuireWoods client Dominion Resources , founded U-Turn Sports Academy to give budding stars the edge they need, but couldn’t otherwise afford, to compete among the world’s best. U-Turn is a public charity that provides high-quality athletic training and spiritual leadership to children in the Greater Richmond, Va., area without regard to their ability to pay.

U-Turn built a premium basketball facility that Amateur Athletic Union teams seek out for their tournaments. After a regional AAU club, Team Loaded, won an AAU national title in 2015, it offered a substantial fee for the right to practice at U-Turn — a fee that helped sponsor instruction for hundreds of underprivileged aspiring athletes. Another basketball team working out at U-Turn, however, balked at the proposed sharing arrangement and threatened litigation, claiming it had exclusive rights to the facility.

U-Turn turned to its pro bono outside general counsel, McGuireWoods partner Don King, serving through a senior lawyers’ initiative of the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation. Don and associate Justin Earley tried to negotiate a settlement, but the basketball club seeking to exert exclusive rights to U-Turn’s facility filed for a preliminary injunction in state court, seeking to prevent Team Loaded from practicing at the U-Turn facility.

Don and Justin brought in McGuireWoods litigators Matt Fender and Robert Loftin. Working on a compressed pre-Thanksgiving schedule, the McGuireWoods team filed an antitrust and business conspiracy action against the basketball club in federal court. The following day, November 24, 2015, in state court, the McGuireWoods team won the preliminary injunction hearing. The basketball club subsequently withdrew all claims and signed a mutual release.