New Jersey boxing managers Joe Hand Sr. and Alfred “Doc” Nowicki filed a lawsuit today against the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, its commissioner, Aaron M. Davis, and legal counsel, Nicholas Lembo, in the United States District Court of New Jersey. Hand and Nowicki allege that the state officials violated their due process rights and interfered with private contracts without basis or justification.
According to the lawsuit, approximately two years into a five-year, co-management contract that Hand and Nowicki signed with professional boxer Dennis Hasson, the state officials arbitrarily held the contract void without notifying Hand or Nowicki. Defendants Lembo and Davis knew or should have known that it is unlawful for government officials to void a private contract without notice or an opportunity to be heard.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that there was absolutely no basis in New Jersey law or otherwise to void the binding co-management contract and the decision was made arbitrarily by Davis and Lembo, who themselves endorsed the contract just two years prior.
Further, after holding the co-management contract void, Lembo and Davis intentionally concealed this information from Hand and Nowicki, who learned of the decision from third parties. Despite several letters, phone calls and other informal requests by Hand and Nowicki, Lembo and Davis refused to address the decision or justify their actions, leaving no choice but to seek redress in the courts.
“Under the Constitution, government officials must afford an opportunity to be heard, or at the very least provide notice, prior to stripping a liberty and property interest from someone,” said Ryan R. Janis of Jekielek & Janis, LLP, the attorney representing Hand and Nowicki. “In this case, the interest is our clients’ valuable rights under their management contract.
“Our clients brought this lawsuit not only to seek redress for significant financial losses, but also to shed light on what we believe are gross violations of their rights perpetrated by the very officials who are supposed to protect the integrity of sports in the state of New Jersey.”
Ranked as the No. 2 amateur in the United States before turning pro in 2008, Hasson has compiled an undefeated record of 15-0-0 with five knockouts. His latest victory came on Aug. 31, 2012, with an eight-round unanimous decision win over light heavyweight Daniel Judah at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
“In all my years in boxing, I have never seen any athletic commission operate the way the present New Jersey State Athletic Control Board operates,” said Hand. “Doc and I recognized very early the talent that Dennis possessed. It’s a shame our relationship with Dennis was cut short for no reason and without an explanation. I am confident we’ll get a satisfactory decision from the court system.”
Hand and Nowicki have requested that any questions or correspondences regarding this matter be directed to their attorney, Ryan R. Janis, at (215) 396-2727.
About Joe Hand, Sr.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., Joe Hand Sr. is a licensed boxing manager in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has been involved in the boxing industry for over 40 years.
Beginning in the 1960s, Mr. Hand had a key role in Cloverlay, Inc., a company formed to manage the career of an “up and coming” boxer named Joe Frazier. Under the direction of Mr. Hand and Cloverlay, Frazier became one of the greatest boxers of all time.
In 1971, Mr. Hand founded Joe Hand Promotions, Inc., which just recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. works with the top boxing companies in the world and is currently the exclusive commercial distributor of the Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view programming.
Mr. Hand continues to enjoy managing, developing, and guiding young boxing talent, much the way he guided a young Joe Frazier on his way to a legendary career. He also operates the Joe Hand Boxing Gym and Computer Lab in Philadelphia.
Mr. Hand has spent his years in the boxing industry building a reputation of professionalism and integrity that is second to none. In addition to being an active contributor and promoter of countless causes, Mr. Hand’s professional recognitions include: Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (1992); World Boxing Association Closed-Circuit Promoter of the Year (1996); Ring One Veterans Boxers Association Man of the Year (1999); Golden Gloves Hall of Fame (2000); National Penn Bank Advisory Board (2000); Middle Atlantic Amateur Boxing Association Hall of Fame (2001); Philadelphia Sports Congress Wanamaker Award Recipient (2002); Northeast Catholic High School Alumni Hall of Fame (2005); Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame (2012); and Pennsylvania Sports Experience Board of Trustees. Just recently on Nov. 16, Mr. Hand received the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award for significant contributions to the mental health movement in America.
About Alfred “Doc” Nowicki
“Doc” Nowicki is a licensed boxing manager in the State of New Jersey. Mr. Nowicki entered professional boxing management in 1997 and has become a highly respected manager, both regionally and nationwide. Mr. Nowicki operates a successful automotive repair company in South Jersey, which he started in 1976. Mr. Nowicki and his wife currently reside in Cherry Hill, N.J., and have three grown children as well as four grandchildren.
Over the years he has helped develop the careers of many boxers and continues to do so today. Currently, he manages “up and coming” boxing talent as well as nationally known high-profile fighters such as Mike Jones (26-1-0, 19 KOs) and Teon Kennedy (17-2-O, 7 K0s).
About Jekielek & Janis, LLP
Jekielek & Janis LLP is a boutique law firm serving business and individual clients in both transactional and litigation matters worldwide. Their attorneys represent a broad spectrum of clients that range from “up and coming” performing artists to some of the premier sports and entertainment companies and performers in the world. The firm maintains offices in the heart of the music and entertainment industry, Midtown Manhattan, as well as just outside the Philadelphia city limits in Lower Southampton Township, PA.