Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge dismisses Bill Edwards' lawsuit against Ruth Eckerd Hall

ST. PETERSBURG — The slugfest between two of the area's biggest music promoters was brought to a temporary halt, but is far from over.

Three months after music promoter Bill Edwards sued Ruth Eckerd Hall alleging unfair business practices, a Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court judge dismissed the case. Edwards sought more than $2 million in damages and accused the Clearwater performing arts center of poaching performers from his Club at Treasure Island.

Judge W. Douglas Baird dismissed the case in early November, but his two-page ruling did not state a reason. He gave Edwards 10 days to file an amended lawsuit with more specific information about his claims. Edwards' lawyer did that last week.

Ruth Eckerd Hall is now asking for that also to be dismissed. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

The original lawsuit fueled harsh rhetoric between Edwards and Ruth Eckerd.

"We believe in the American justice system," Zev Buffman, CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall, said Monday about the ruling.

Edwards said he is eager to state his case before the judge.

"I am looking forward to a hearing so justice can prevail," he said Monday.

In the lawsuit, Edwards accused Ruth Eckerd Hall's staffers of forcing two performers, actor and singer Danny Aiello and comedian Louie Anderson, into backing out of shows scheduled for October and December at his club.

Edwards also accused the staffers of speaking disparagingly about him and his club to the two performers. Club officials later uncovered evidence showing that Ruth Eckerd Hall had communicated with representatives for the entertainers.

"We've got enough written testimony to kill them," Edwards said in August. "We've got enough evidence, correspondence back and forth (between Ruth Eckerd Hall and performers) to take care of it."

At the time, Edwards said he asked his attorney to reach out privately to Ruth Eckerd Hall's board of directors, hoping the venue's staffers would stop their "bullying tactics."

The lawsuit wasn't the first battle between the two groups.

Ruth Eckerd and Edwards' company, Big 3 Entertainment, both were in the running for the contract to manage St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater. St. Petersburg leaders decided to go with Edwards in April 2011.

Edwards also bought the city's troubled BayWalk shopping plaza, which he is redeveloping as the Shops at St. Pete.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at

Judge dismisses Bill Edwards' lawsuit against Ruth Eckerd Hall 12/03/12 [Last modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]