TSM: A Lawyer Breaks Down All the Doublelift, Leena, Dardoch Drama

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games. /

As President of TSM, Leena likely owes what is called a “fiduciary duty” to TSM. This means that she obligated to act in that role solely for the benefit of TSM, and not her own personal or financial interest.

Leena likely did breach a fiduciary duty to TSM by her actions. Because she accidentally broadcast the fact that many teams do not appear interested in acquiring Dardoch, she harmed TSM’s position in any trade negotiations.

In addition, as many pointed out, in a Reddit post it appears that this was not an isolated incident, and Leena may have conducted similar discussions while Doublelift was nearby during his time on Team Liquid. This would be a clear breach of her duty since she is effectively providing information on her team’s strategies to a member of an opposing team.

However, the mere fact that she is conducting TSM operations within earshot of one of her players is not, in and of itself, a violation of such duty. Presumably, both Leena and Doublelift’s interests are aligned personally and professionally, so this disclosure doesn’t breach her duty to TSM.

It is certainly not advisable, nor is it professional, and given the risk that this information could leak through Doublelift (whoopsie), it posed an unnecessary risk. But a lot of commentators seem to be under the impression that Doublelift had some sort of insider access that his teammates did not because of his relationship. That is a leap of logic (it’s very likely that other players were aware of these moves, it certainly seems this topic has been discussed with Dardoch) and is really only relevant, again, if this insider access allows her to act for Doublelift’s interest at the expense of TSM’s.

Now, one area where there was a lot of outrage regarding the leaked call is the impact that it has on Dardoch. Some have even theorized that Dardoch could look to sue her or TSM for this action. Let me be clear: that proposition is laughable.

Leena only owes a duty is to TSM and the only obligation Dardoch is owed are those laid out in his contract. There has been no evidence that TSM has breached Dardoch’s contract in any way at this time.

You may argue that TSM breached some sort of disparagement clause, but these usually only limit what the player can say about the organization (if it even exists in Dardoch’s contract). In addition, the statement that a player is not receiving interest from other teams is unlikely considered disparagement. Typically, this would require some form of falsehood or a claim to the player’s character or ability.

Yes, her statement limits Dardoch’s ability to find a team in the future, but that itself does not create a legal cause of action for a few reasons.

First, Dardoch is still contracted with TSM, meaning the team has obligations to fulfill under the contract. He is still entitled to pay, a spot on the team (LCS or Academy), and he would need to be bought out if the team decides to cut him. This statement (likely) does not effect this current contract so, at worst, Dardoch will be left in the same position he would have been in if TSM just decided to bench or cut him.

Second, the connection between this one statement and Dardoch’s future prospects is quite tenuous. Any good lawyer would point out that Dardoch underperformed last split and has a history of toxicity, which likely harmed his ability to find another team more than this single statement. As I noted above, the more direct harm is to TSM’s ability to sell/trade Dardoch, since it reveals they have little leveraging power in getting rid of him (in which case they have to pay out the rest of his contract or buy him out).

Finally, if Leena’s statement is correct, Dardoch’s future prospects were already diminished to the point that this statement couldn’t cause any real harm. It would be similar to claiming that my statement that “no one in their right mind would buy Enron stock” after their stock already bottomed out. The statement hurts Enron’s stock, yes, but how much harm was actually caused?

Now, if Leena had lied or exaggerated something to get Dardoch thrown off the team, there could easily be a cause of action. Another, more plausible but still unlikely, scenario is that Doublelift doesn’t want to play with Dardoch and Leena was trying to help her boyfriend (trying to make it seem that Dardoch was available to teams that might not have thought he was up for trade), which would create a conflict of interest.

Leena’s statement does make it harder for Dardoch to find a new team, but it’s impossible to say how much the statement hurt him and whether it matters at all since he is still “owned” by TSM. If he was a free agent seeking a team, then the argument against her and TSM would be much stronger because it only harms his future earnings. As it is right now, Dardoch is still owed and likely to get everything he negotiated for in his contract.