Raiders seek arbitration of Randy Hanson's lawsuit

In the wake of the alleged jaw-breaking suffered last August by Raiders employee Randy Hanson, he has filed suit against coach Tom Cable and the organization.  According to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, the Raiders have asked the court in Alameda County to compel arbitration of the claims, based on language in Hanson’s contract that requires him to submit any claims to this alternative to full-blown litigation.

Presumably, the contract requires arbitration in the league office, with Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee presiding — and with the ruling from the league office being final and binding.  It’s a common requirement for all club employees whose employment is governed by the terms of a contract.

In Hanson’s case, the outcome will depend on the language of Hanson’s contract and the applicable California and federal law regarding the claims that may and may not be referred to arbitration.  Nearly a decade ago, the United States Supreme Court concluded that the Federal Arbitration Act applies to employment disputes.  The broader question is whether Hanson’s contract sweeps broadly enough to encompass the legal theories Hanson has asserted.

Predictably, Hanson’s lawyer thinks it doesn’t.  “These are all peculiarly state of California causes of action that have
nothing to do with a contractual dispute between a team in the NFL and
any of its employees,” John McGuinn told Silver. 

Apparently, McGuinn hasn’t practiced much employment law.  Arbitration isn’t simply reserved to “contractual disputes.”  Arbitration clauses routinely are written to require the employee to submit any and all possible claims to arbitration, with the legal mumbo jumbo necessary to ensure that any form of gripe, bitch, piss, and/or moan the employee ever might have falls within the commitment to arbitrate.

Anyone who wants to work for an NFL team in a capacity governed by a contract has no choice but to sign the document.  Actually, that’s incorrect.  The person has a choice.  The person can go work somewhere else.

To avoid the contractual commitment made by Hanson when he accepted his job, McGuinn will be required to argue that some aspect of California law overrides the duty to arbitrate as applied to one or more of the specific theories Hanson has alleged.  It will be a tall order.

13 responses to “Raiders seek arbitration of Randy Hanson's lawsuit

  1. Every team in the nfl loves playing the Raiders.. You love to play Al Davis teams on the field. Facing him in court is quite a different matter..
    Good luck in court against Al Davis, Mr. Hanson.

  2. Hanson was already deemed a liar by the police, who dropped the case. Then by the DA, and then finally by Goodell. They all thought that the evidence was shoddy, and the first two were on record that HAnson repeatedly changed his story.
    Despite all of that, Mike Silver is constantly trying to stir the pot by insinuating that Hanson is truthful and that the Raiders and Al Davis have done him wrong.
    All of that because Hanson gave Silver a sitdown interview. God only knows what HAnson gave Silver afterwards….

  3. Is this the first episode of Florio’s ‘Sports Law: NFL Style’ spin-off? (Actually, not a bad idea– except that the pulses of human beings– that is, all non-lawyers– would cease forever)

  4. it seems odd that an assault on another human being can be turned over to arbitration to determine the outcome.
    if you shoot someone in the nfl,you can go to arbitration for the crime???

  5. ” gripe, bitch, piss, and/or moan”
    Are those legal terms that you learned in law school Florio?

  6. Coughlin –
    The police and DA already decided that Hanson and his story that changed 10 times were full of crap and they threw out his case.
    The Raiders dont want him working there anymore, but dont want to look like bad guys when the case goes to civil court, hence the arbitration.

  7. This is a screwed up deal to say the least. Did the police or the DA ever refute that Hanson had a broken jaw, or that he acquired said condition on or around the alleged date and at the location he claims it occurred at?
    I’ve wondered ever since the DA threw this out if their judgment wasn’t based on the fact that the other Raider personnel present at the time of the alleged incident were not willing to acknowledge Hanson’s story.

  8. Ooooops Florio, a Raiders thread with ONLY 12 comments! Time to fire up the ol’ Favre publicity machine. Start tracking flights from Mississippi to Minnesota…

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