TSM and H2k locked in public tug of war over Svenskeren
Amidst a flurry of offseason roster changes in League of Legends, one player's future has become the subject of a very public and potentially litigious battle.
Both Team SoloMid and H2k-Gaming attempted to secure the services of jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen, who had been playing for SK Gaming. First reported by Richard Lewis at Breitbart and later confirmed by a public Twitlonger exchange between the two owners, H2k believed it had signed the player only for TSM to sign its own deal.
In a statement to Breitbart, H2k claimed that Johnsen and H2k management had "agreed to execute a contract formalizing that deal," which H2k believed represented a legally binding agreement. Johnsen and TSM disagree, however, and Johnsen later signed with the North American organization.
After the story published, a series of public statements by H2k CEO Richard Wells and SoloMid founder Andy "Reginald" Dinh have ignited a public firestorm about the situation with legal threats and accusations of threats and bullying.
According to Dinh, TSM offered Johnsen a tryout before he received an offer from H2k. He offered to pay H2k to secure their roster spot as a backup offer for Johnsen, should the TSM tryout be unsuccessful. These discussions broke down and H2k continued its pursuit of the player, with TSM eventually offering the player a starting spot.
H2k believed their agreement was legally binding, and has asked both Riot and its own lawyers to look into the situation.
According to esports lawyer Bryce Blum, this situation is just as complicated as it sounds.
"A letter of intent or a napkin or even a verbal offer," Blum said last night on the True Sight podcast. "Whether or not it's legally binding goes back to the fundamental principles… there are three things you need to make a contract: an offer, an acceptance, and a consideration. It can't be open-ended, there can't be pre-conditions. There has to be an opportunity to say yes and to say no."
Riot so far has given no indication of its position on the issue, and H2k and TSM could be on the verge of a court battle. Johnsen could play with TSM at IEM San Jose in 10 days time, but that would by no means be the end of the issue.
Image via Riot Games