Michigan firm sues North Allegheny schools, area businessman over football shirts

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Saying its right to sell PIAA apparel was violated by conspirators, a Michigan firm sued North Allegheny School District and an area screen printer in federal court Thursday.

Lighthouse Sportswear had "the exclusive right to design, develop, maintain, manage and market" clothes with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association logo and marks, according to the complaint it filed. In 2010, after North Allegheny won the PIAA football championship, Lighthouse sold $15,974 in related clothes, according to the complaint.

But after North Allegheny's 2012 championship, Lighthouse's earnings were just $330, per the lawsuit. The accused culprits: the district, its athletic director Robert Bozzuto, and a New Wilmington shirt maker named Brian Caiazza.

Mr. Caiazza, who runs Cazzco Screen Printing, was marketing "North Allegheny State Champions" T-shirts online, with a portion of proceeds going to the district's athletic program, according to the complaint. He sold shirts reading "State Finals" at a kiosk at the 2013 state football tournament, Lighthouse alleged.

That constituted a trademark violation, tortious interference with business expectations and a civil conspiracy, according to the complaint, which demands triple damages.

Neither Mr. Caiazza nor a North Allegheny spokeswoman could be reached for comment.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

First Published July 10, 2014 12:00 AM

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