Naples angler loses court battle in $2.8M tournament dispute

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:
Phil Heasley, third from left, aboard the “Kallianassa” reeled in a 76.5 pound white marlin on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, the second day of the White Marlin Open Tournament. (Photo: White Marlin Open)

BALTIMORE (AP) A federal judge in Maryland has ruled against a man who tried to claim a $2.8 million top prize in the world’s largest billfish tournament.

Wednesday’s ruling came in a lawsuit pitting the White Marlin Open tournament in Ocean City against Phil Heasley of Naples.

Heasley was crowned last year’s tournament winner after catching a 76.5 pound marlin, but he and his crew were disqualified after failing to pass required polygraph tests.

Heasley denied any wrongdoing, but the judge said he was not entitled to the prize money because he failed the polygraph test.

The judge added that even if tournament organizers had breached their contractual obligations, the evidence showed that Heasley and his crew violated the rules by deploying their lines before the official tournament start time.

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