If a group of players not currently involved in the Tom Brady antitrust litigation plan to try to intervene in the case, they’ll need to find another law firm to handle the case.
Per the Associated Press, the NFL has refused to waive a conflict of interest arising from the fact that a member of the Cafferty Faucher firm in Philadelphia represents the NFL in matters relating to music licensing for NFL Network and NFL Films.
Added NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in an e-mail to PFT: “We notified the law firm that while we do not know the specifics of the claims that would be asserted or the players who would be involved, we cannot consent to the firm’s request to grant a waiver. As a matter of policy, we do not believe it is appropriate to consent to firms bringing suit against the NFL while simultaneously representing league entities even on unrelated matters.”
Though I haven’t recently researched the nuances of legal ethics (some of you would say that’s an oxymoron), if one lawyer in Cafferty Faucher is actively representing the NFL, the conflict resulting from another lawyer in the firm handling a matter against the NFL probably is something that couldn’t be waived by the league.
It’s also possible that the Cafferty Faucher firm hasn’t researched the nuances of legal ethics, either. An e-mail message posted at NFLLockout.com (the players’ propaganda site aimed at countering the league’s NFLLabor.com) that supposedly was sent by the firm to players potentially constitutes an impermissible form of client solicitation.
Now that Cafferty Faucher is out of the picture, intervention by other players will be possible only if another firm can be found to handle the case.
Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether any players actually have agreed to join the cause. None have been identified, and none have come forward to express concern that the current effort doesn’t represent the interests of all players. Until they do — or until another firm is hired to intervene in the pending Tom Brady antitrust litigation — this potentially big story has slid into the category of “non-story.”
UPDATE: The e-mail posted at NFLLockout.com says the potential conflict of interest relates to a lawyer in the firm’s Los Angeles office. According to its website, however, Cafferty Faucher doesn’t have an L.A. office. Also, the e-mail says the conflict of interest arises from a past representation. For Cafferty Faucher, the conflict of interest arose from a current representation of NFL Films and NFL Network. So, basically, we’re very confused.
SECOND UPDATE: The AP got the name of the firm wrong. It’s not Cafferty Faucher. It’s Barnes & Thornburgh.