Representatives from North America Rugby Union LLC (also known as Pro Rugby) have failed to appear at three separate legal hearings related to unpaid employees, with the now defunct pro league losing one judgment and likely to lose two more.
In November, neither Pro Rugby CEO Douglas Schoninger nor his representatives or agents appeared at a Civil Court of the City of New York small claims hearing to answer the charge that NA Rugby Union LLC owed former employee Stephen Lewis over $2,000.
As a result, the case was ruled in favor of Lewis for just over $2,100.
It wasn't about the money, Lewis told FloRugby later, but about getting a legal record of Schoninger's failure to pay money he owed people and organizations.
(Pro Rugby refused to pay the catering bill of a non-profit - Plates Cafe and Catering - that catered for the Sacramento Pro Rugby team. A GoFundMe campaign later raised more than the 7,511 owed for the company.)
On Friday, four former San Francisco Rush Pro Rugby employees testified under oath at California Labor Commission hearings in San Jose, CA regarding the monies owed to them by Pro Rugby.
Michael Reid was represented by attorney Kimberly Culp, and Fancy Namulauulu, Paul Keeler, and Jack O’Hara were represented by attorney Terence O’Hara.
Doug Schoninger did not appear at the hearing, despite being subpoenaed to personally appear. No one from Pro Rugby attended.
The Labor Commission did not issue a ruling, but is expected to by the end of the year.
This is perhaps one of the last chapters in the briefs and distressing history of Pro Rugby. The league, which on the field successfully raised the level of play in the USA, ran into all sorts of issues organizationally. Opinions on how Schoninger ran the league quickly soured, and, as evidence by events this fall, some were forced to use legal means to recover money owed.