Court ruling due on $500K in Israeli-US figure skating flap
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Court ruling due on $500K in Israeli-US figure skating flap

Israeli skating federation says lawsuit filed by former Olympian Andrea Davidovich in bid to be released from national team was frivolous

Andrea Davidovich and Evgeni Krasnopolski of Israel compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Andrea Davidovich and Evgeni Krasnopolski of Israel compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) — A New Jersey woman who skated in the Olympics for Israel before winning the right to skate for the US is awaiting a court decision to see how much it will cost her.

The Israeli skating federation wants a New Jersey state appeals court to grant it more than $500,000 in attorneys’ fees from Andrea Davidovich. The federation claims Davidovich’s lawsuit in New Jersey was frivolous because she could have pursued a remedy through figure skating’s international governing body.

That body, the International Skating Union, ultimately granted Davidovich’s request in the fall of 2016.

The New Jersey court is due to rule on the fees dispute on Monday.

Davidovich, who has dual US-Israeli citizenship, and partner Evgeni Krasnopolski finished 15th in the pairs competition in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Afterward, Davidovich sought to be released from her obligation to the Israeli ice skating federation.

The Israeli federation opposed her release, arguing it would encourage other skaters in whom it had invested substantial resources to take similar action.

Evgeni Krasnopolsky, left, and Andrea Davidovich sit in the ‘kiss and cry’ area and await their scores after completing a short program in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday (photo credit: AP/Darron Cummings)

That spawned a court battle in New Jersey. Last June, an appellate court reversed an earlier ruling that would have ordered the Israeli federation to release Davidovich. In its decision, the appeals court referenced the National Football League’s suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2016, which was upheld by a federal appeals court after a lower court nullified it.

“Judges generally should and do refrain from interfering with the internal matters of sports associations unless exceptional circumstances justify that interference,” the New Jersey panel wrote.

Brian Spector, an attorney representing the Israeli federation, said Friday his clients “feel as if the plaintiff, her father and her counsel clearly knew that pursuing the claim in state court before they exhausted their remedies before the ISU was wrong. They should have to pay the price for that.”

An attorney representing Davidovich didn’t immediately comment on the dispute Friday.

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