Immigration Law

Ex-NBA Player, Others Want $45M EB-5 Suit Axed - Law360

"Former NBA forward Theo Ratliff and various entertainment-related companies urged a Georgia federal judge on Friday to toss a $45 million lawsuit brought by a Georgia-based production studio alleging that it was pushed out of a lucrative funding opportunity with the EB-5 immigrant investor program, saying that the claims are “vague and confusing.”

Ratliff, along with his company Ratliff Entertainment LLC, the Southern Film Regional Center LLC and other defendants, urged the court to dismiss what they called “a classic shotgun pleading” filed by television and film studio Open Rivers Pictures Media Group Inc.

Although the suit accuses the defendants of engaging in a “scheme” to exclude the studio from an EB-5 application process that allegedly could have netted $45 million, the defendants' motion argued that the pleading was not procedurally sound.

“Every one of plaintiffs’ 10 counts is a 'shotgun pleading,' because each count begins with a paragraph that incorporates by reference all of the preceding paragraphs of the complaint,' the motion said. “The Eleventh Circuit and this court have repeatedly made clear that shotgun pleadings are improper, 'fatally defective' and should be dismissed.”

Ratliff, who played 16 seasons in the NBA, and the other defendants also said that when referring to the defendants, the March 11 complaint used confusing terms that overlap and could incorporate multiple defendants without specifying between them.

The EB-5 program offers foreign nationals and their families a green card in exchange for large investments in American projects, as long as the investment creates at least 10 jobs. Generally, the minimum investment is $1 million, but $500,000 is also enough to qualify if it's done in a rural or high-employment area. ... The case is Open Rivers Media Group Inc. et al. v. Southern Film Regional Center LLC et al., case number, 1:15-cv-00724, in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia." - Law360, Apr. 3, 2015.