Wells Fargo responds to Vikings "photo-bomb" suit

Wells Fargo to Vikings: Our signs are just fine


The Vikings’ position “belies common sense and the purpose of the signage. A sign is made to be seen,” according to the response signed by Lindquist & Vennum lawyers Christopher Grote and Brian Freeman.

The response notes the Vikings’ claim that “raised lettering and illumination of the signage irreparably injures them somehow by distracting from the image of the new stadium.” Wells Fargo’s attorneys call that a “never-before-recognized form of irreparable injury.”

The argument revolves around two signs, 56 feet by 56 feet, on the rooftops of the two 17-story towers. The red-and-gold signs have “Wells Fargo” in letters raised about 1-1/2 feet above the roof surface. The signs have not yet been lighted.

At the heart of the dispute is the multimillion dollar issue of branding. U.S. Bank has paid the Vikings undisclosed millions to put its name on the new stadium to promote the brand in widely broadcast events, including the 2018 Super Bowl. While U.S. Bank isn’t a party to the legal dispute, the Vikings presumably want to protect the value of the naming rights. The Vikings claim the signs would permanently “photo-bomb” the image of “iconic” U.S. Bank Stadium, which they emphasize is a public investment to be protected.
Comment: Full 39 page response here.


  1. The original Vikings complaint is here

    Background in this article

  2. Update: Judge: Wells Fargo Can Keep Signs Near U.S. Bank Stadium:

    A federal judge has denied the Minnesota Vikings’ request for a preliminary injunction that would have forced Wells Fargo to remove or cover two rooftop signs near the new stadium.

    In an order filed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank says the group overseeing the stadium construction hasn’t shown that it would suffer irreparable harm if an injunction wasn’t granted. Frank ordered the case to be scheduled for trial and possible settlement talks.

  3. Update: Minnesota Vikings, Wells Fargo ordered to settlement conference about alleged photo-bombing signs:

    A federal judge has ordered the Minnesota Vikings and Wells Fargo into an April 26 settlement conference in their dispute over the bank’s placement of signs on their two new bank towers near U.S. Bank Stadium.

    U.S. Magistrate Janie Mayeron issued an order Wednesday telling both sides to show up with full negotiating power and be prepared to work into the night. The case is on an expedited track.

    The lawyers who “will actually try the case” and “each party, armed with full settlement authority” must be present at the settlement conference, Mayeron said in a two-page order setting the date.

    “This means each party must attend through a person who has the power to change that party’s settlement posture during the course of the conference,” she wrote.

  4. Results: Vikings win legal fight with Wells Fargo over rooftop signs - Judge tells Wells Fargo to take down the mounted rooftop signs, pay legal fees for Minnesota Vikings. :

    The Minnesota Vikings won a resounding victory over Wells Fargo in a dispute over signs near the new U.S. Bank Stadium.

    U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank gave Wells Fargo 30 days to remove elevated signs from the rooftops of two 17-story office towers near the Vikings’ new home. Frank ordered Wells Fargo to pay the team’s legal fees stemming from the dispute, saying that Wells Fargo had breached a contract.

    Frank found that the bank had violated a two-year agreement with the team regarding the types of signs on the rooftop of the new Wells Fargo buildings. The Vikings said the pact required the signs be flush with the rooftops. Instead, late last year, Wells Fargo installed red-and-yellow signs that were elevated several feet.

  5. Settlement: In settlement, Vikings allow Wells Fargo to keep elevated signs on rooftops near stadium -
    Wells Fargo will be allowed to keep its signs near new stadium, as long as the lights stay off.

    Don't let it be said the Vikings are sore losers.

    In a mostly confidential settlement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the team allowed Wells Fargo to keep elevated but not illuminated signs on the rooftops of two office buildings adjacent to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

    The agreement followed months of negotiations, dozens of legal filings and several hearings in front of U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank.

    "We're pleased that as two prominent Minnesota brands and community leaders we've reached a resolution that's in the best interests of both parties," said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president.

    A Wells Fargo spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.

    It's a resolution seemingly at odds with prior actions. The Vikings escalated the dispute when it took Wells Fargo to court late last year. The team accused Wells Fargo of attempting to photo-bomb the image of U.S. Bank stadium that would be broadcast around the world, especially during the Super Bowl in February 2018.


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