The lawsuit filed by former Saints director of security Geoffrey Santini against the defending Super Bowl champions likely won’t be going away soon, and so it will be providing constant fodder for reporting, analysis, debate.
For starters, multiple sources tell us that, before filing suit, Santini requested payment in the amount of $2 million in exchange for a full and complete settlement of his claims. Though the Saints could be tempted to describe the demand as a take-it-or-leave-it number, it’s our understanding that it was a traditional opener, a common facet of any legal negotiation.
Basically, the plaintiff starts high, the defendant starts low, and the question becomes whether an acceptable middle ground can be identified.
As we understand it, the Saints did not respond to the opening demand. Per our sources, Santini’s counsel, Donald Hyatt, eventually offered to make a bottom-line, non-negotiable demand. The number was significantly lower than $2 million, and possibly less than $1 million.
In response, no offer came from the Saints.
That said, we’ve picked up indications that the Saints were trying on Friday to put together a package in the low six figures. Though it likely wouldn’t have been enough to resolve the case, it might have prompted further discussions, at a minimum delaying the filing of the lawsuit.
And so now the case will proceed. Santini’s camp will likely take the position in any future negotiations that the demand is $2 million, and that the ball is in the team’s court. The Saints likely will regard the reduced number as Santini’s current position, expecting him to negotiate off of it. Before any progress can be made, the two sides will need to agree on the number to which the Saints are responding.
Regardless of the mechanics, a settlement can come at any time. If not, there eventually will be a resolution through the legal system — a dismissal, summary judgment, or a full-blown trial.
We’ll be following it every step of the way. But you probably already figured that out.