League declines to waive conflict of interest on possible intervention

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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.

19 responses to “League declines to waive conflict of interest on possible intervention

  1. Only if another firm can be found to represent them? What a joke. Have you looked at the business climate for law firms? I can think of a bunch that would do it for the publicity alone. Even if the case is a total loser.

  2. As any attorney knows it can most definitely be waived as long as it is not in direct conflict i.e. on both sides of the litigation. A client can do almost anything with respect to the attorney-client relationship.

    Working at big firms always brought about such instances were attorneys work on matters that might be a conflict of interest. Most firms have clients sign off annually that they waive the right to claim a conflict of interest or the firm has a Chinese Wall set up walling the ineffected attorney from the ones working on the matter.

    Or, the firm can just can the attorney that did the work if the new case is big enough. Happens all the time

  3. This was a law firm trying to make a name for itself. They ran a flag up the NFL players pole and tried to see which players saluted it. Doesn’t seem like any players bit, but they got some free publicity…before The NFL shut them down. Much ado about nothing. The chink in the armor came from the owners side with ex. player Toomer attacking Goodell. Thumbs down if you’re pro-player…LOL

  4. BTW, “Candy Tom” has been responsible for several rules pussifying the NFL. I would suggest that Tom and other QBs in the league should wear pink lace-trimmed skirts rather than team uniforms.

  5. This is the NFL trying to instigate a mutiny. The players didn’t bite and the NFL threw out this “conflict of interest” BS.

    Honestly, a law firm that makes millions off the NFL was trying to get a waiver so they could join in on the suit? Right.

  6. A bunch of lawyers just got screwed how of some high legal fees. It’s about time. Parasites!

  7. Obviously the NFL was just protecting themselves from the the NFLPA (no astrick intended) from trying to use this against them claiming they were trying to break the ranks of the players by using a law firm in which they were already engaged with for other purposes. I think the NFL would gladly like to see the players infighting but do not want to leave any cracks open to have De Smith, et al, claim this was all a set-up by the owners.

  8. this story is nothing but a BS ploy by the owners!
    we are to believe that a bunch of lower paid players that don’t have any income right now are looking to go out and hire a high priced law firm to represent them in this quagmire even though they are already covered in the Brady suit. we have been told since the beginning they are in need of money and will have to fold??? and the law firm just happen to be a firm the league uses and NO players have been named??? do they think we are all beckheads??? nice work

  9. “So, basically, we’re very confused.”

    What a shock. Having flashbacks to your days of “practicing” law?

  10. The whole thing is a double edged sword for the NFL. Of course the owners would love to see the players divided, and competing suits brought by different players with different motives and desires is one sure way to do so. If multiple groups of players do file lawsuits, however, it essentially destroys the league’s claim that that NFLPA’s decertification is a sham. It could doom any claim they make with the NLRB and many of the arguments they’d make in an appeal. Furthermore, the owners do want to sit down and strike a deal with the players eventually. They simply want to do so on their own terms. If the players fractured into too many groups with different aims, it could make that much more difficult. So, while the owners may want to divide the players in the background, they don’t want those divisions to get out of control. They need for there to be a group that can negotiate a deal that the other players will agree to.

  11. txchief says: Apr 21, 2011 10:53 PM

    BTW, “Candy Tom” has been responsible for several rules pussifying the NFL. I would suggest that Tom and other QBs in the league should wear pink lace-trimmed skirts rather than team uniforms.
    Please name one rule change that Brady recommended or had passed by the competition committee? You can’t, because they don’t exist. The competition committee (on the league’s behalf) proposes and passes rules changes. Over the years, that’s included a series of changes designed to protect QBs. That has nothing to do with QBs being scared or weak, and everything to do with the teams doing what they can to protect the player that tends to represent their biggest investment and the face of their franchise. I may not like some of the rules changes any more than you do, but I certainly recognize the reason that they were passed.

  12. “So, basically, we’re very confused.”

    For this site, that’s an understatement. I feel the same way when I log on for more than 3 minutes.

  13. So sick of hearing about millionaires and billionaires not being able to settle this! Cancel the damn season already. The players can find other jobs and the owners can sit in their private suites, in an empty stadium every Sunday. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

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