DALLAS - A small Texas startup has sued former American League MVP Josh Hamilton over a "Play Hard, Pray Harder" clothing line sold by the maker of Christian-inspired products, whose founder said Saturday is no longer in business with the slugger's family.
The federal lawsuit accuses North Carolina-based ScriptureArt — which features Hamilton modeling a "Play Hard, Pray Harder" T-shirt on its website — of marketing a slogan already claimed by Dallas-based Play Hard Pray Harder LLC. Corporate filings show the Texas company formed in January.
The lawsuit was filed in Dallas on Friday and seeks unspecified damages.
According to an October news release, Hamilton's wife, Katie, co-founded ScriptureArt in January 2011 "with a mission to develop high quality products and designs that inspire others to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ."
Kelly Shiley, the registered owner of ScriptureArt, said Saturday she was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment on the dispute. She said the Hamiltons helped launched the company but were no longer involved.
According to the lawsuit, Play Hard Pray Harder began using the slogan as early as April. The company says it later filed trademark paperwork on the same day as ScriptureArt, but claims it was using the slogan first.
The Los Angeles Angels introduced Hamilton on Saturday as their newest outfielder after signing him to a $125 million, five-year contract. Hamilton became a free agent after five years as an All-Star with the Texas Rangers.
The 31-year-old Hamilton, who originally is from North Carolina, has a history of alcohol and substance abuse that derailed his career early before his return with the Rangers. He is candid about his past and credits his sobriety to his relationship with God.