Ravens denied on logo motion

Jury finding that team copied artist drawing is not thrown out

February 23, 1999|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

A federal judge has denied a request by the Ravens to throw out a jury's finding that the team copied its helmet logo from a design by an amateur Baltimore artist.

At the same time, U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis gave the artist's attorneys permission to seek employment records related to the claim of a former Ravens employee. The woman has come forward since the trial to say she saw the artist's submission at the team's offices last year.

The jury ruled Nov. 3 in favor of Frederick E. Bouchat, the amateur artist and security guard who worked at a state office building. He claimed to have designed the "flying B" shield that the players wore on their helmets, and to have faxed it to people who were in contact with the team.

He produced witnesses who testified to having seen his drawing prior to the team unveiling its official logo in 1996.

Bouchat is seeking some of the money the team and NFL has made on the sale of items bearing the logo. A separate trial will be held in coming months to determine how much money the Ravens must pay Bouchat if their appeals are unsuccessful.

The team asked Garbis to throw out the verdict, claiming it was insufficiently supported by evidence and that the judge improperly coerced the jury to reach a verdict when one member was holding out. Garbis, in a ruling filed on Friday, refused to overturn the verdict or order a new trial.

Bouchat's attorney, Howard Schulman, said he was pleased with the ruling. "The judge found that there was more than enough evidence," he said.

Ravens president David Modell said yesterday that the team will continue with its appeals in the case.

"This is not the end of the game. It is an interim step. We're disappointed, but we know we didn't do anything wrong," Modell said.

In the matter of the former Ravens employee, Garbis approved a request by Bouchat's attorneys to seek employment records related to Carolyn E. Knipp. She has submitted a sworn statement saying she was a temporary employee working in the Ravens' offices and saw the disputed drawing by Bouchat. She said she was instructed to forward all such unsolicited submissions to the NFL in New York, where league artists were creating the team's logo and uniforms.

"I remember it because I thought it was much better than the others which we received," she said in the statement.

A month or so later, the "flying B" logo was unveiled by the Ravens.

The team and NFL claim to have no recollection of receiving Bouchat's drawing, and to have conceived the logo -- which bears a striking resemblance to the one he claims to have submitted -- without his input.

Pub Date: 2/23/99

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