Two days ago, a report emerged that up to 70 players were considering the possibility of intervening in the Tom Brady antitrust litigation. As it turned out, the firm in question had a conflict of interest, which the NFL refused to waive.
The firm, Barnes & Thornburg, has issued a statement on the situation, a copy of which was forwarded to PFT.
“Barnes & Thornburg was recently approached on a matter that, if accepted, would have been adverse to the NFL,” the statement reads. “As in any case where our law firm is asked to be adverse to an existing client, even on an unrelated matter, we will not undertake the new representation without the current client’s consent. We contacted the NFL about the matter and the NFL declined to consent to our prospective adverse representation. As we would with any client, we respect the NFL’s declination of consent and will not be accepting an engagement adverse to the NFL. Because of client and prospective client confidentiality obligations we are unable to comment further.”
Under the American Bar Association’s model rules of professional conduct, the representation possibly could have proceeded, with written consent from the NFL and the players to be represented.
The decision by the NFL not to allow Barnes & Thornburg to handle the case doesn’t mean that the issue of possible intervention is dead. We’ve heard rumblings that the firm erroneously named in last night’s Associated Press article — Cafferty Faucher — could be in play to take on the case on behalf of players who don’t believe their interests are being properly represented by the Brady plaintiffs.
That said, we’re presently skeptical about the possibility of a splinter group and will remain skeptical until names are attached to this supposed effort to broaden the pool of players who are speaking for all of them. Even if the players involved are having trouble securing representation, they should have no trouble attracting attention to their cause, especially with Twitter and Facebook readily available.
With each passing hour, silence makes us more inclined to believe that there is no splinter group.