Dolphins face litigation after firing a scout

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Just as the dysfunction that has plagued the Dolphins franchise in recent months dissipated, controversy has returned.

According to Alex Marvez of, the Dolphins face a lawsuit from Nate Sullivan, a scout who contends he was fired in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  His lawyer has sent a letter informing the team that Sullivan intends to initiate litigation.

Sullivan had been permitted to work from home since 2004 due to the treatment required by his wife, JoAnne, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and a blood vessel ailment known as polyarteritis nodosa.

Sullivan had been allowed to work at home under three prior Dolphins General Managers.  Perhaps more importantly, the arrangement was allowed to continue by no-nonsense personalities like former V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells and coach Nick Saban.  If Sullivan could perform the duties of the job in satisfactory fashion while working from home with men like Parcells and Saban running the show, chances are Sullivan could have continued to thrive in his position.

Sullivan claims that new G.M. Dennis Hickey said that the arrangement “just did not work for him.”  The Dolphins likely will contend that the decision had nothing to do with Sullivan’s working arrangement, but instead arose from his job performance.  It’s also possible that the Dolphins will argue that allowing Sullivan to continue working from home does not constitute the kind of accommodation the ADA requires.

Legal or not, the Dolphins presumably dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s regarding the decision to move on from Sullivan, with sound legal advice obtained and appropriate documentation generated.  If they didn’t, then they learned nothing from the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito debacle.

27 responses to “Dolphins face litigation after firing a scout

  1. The guy has been a scout for how many GMs? And how many playoff wins does Miami have in that time?

    Maybe each GM didnt want the headache of letting this guy go. Its not like this scout made Miami awesome. Theyve been awful.

    If Hickey didnt think his working from home was satisfactory, then I dont see where there is an issue. You dont get to keep your job just because your wife is sick…

  2. And they purposely took away cystic fibrosis coverage from there health insurance plan So they didn’t have to cover his wife anymore Sounds like this guy has a good lawsuit Guess they didn’t learn anything from last years bullying Now the gm is bullying a scout

  3. “If Sullivan could perform the duties of the job in satisfactory fashion while working from home with men like Parcells and Saban running the show, chances are Sullivan could have continued to thrive in his position.”

    Satisfactory fashion according to whom, Mike?
    Look who those idiots scouted and drafted…
    Saban – Jason Allen
    Parcells – Pat White
    Ireland – Jonathan Martin

    Clearly it was time to move on…

  4. Frankly, I’ve never even heard the legal theory that the Americans with Disability act includes the mandate that employers make reasonable accommodations for disabilities their family members, not they, are actually suffering.

    That’s why the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 was passed to give employees 12 weeks off each year without risk of termination to take care of family members. If the Americans with Disabilities already made reasonable accommodations mandatory, I’m not sure why FMLA was passed.

    BTW, this is why employers are hesitant to accommodate anyone. The moment you do so you are guaranteeing any subsequent termination will be followed with a lawsuit this litigious society.

  5. Special interest laws like Americans with Disabilities Act are why more employers avoid hiring people with disabilities because when their hardship becomes a hardship on the employer and/or the company, it’s impossible to rectify…

  6. Speaking of firing scouts, is Mike Dumbturdi still employed by New England or has he managed to get fired the seventh time ?

  7. Shocking. More embarrassing new from this disgusting joke of a franchise. Don Shula will be rolling over in his grave, if he isn’t already.

  8. What does one expect from the 4th best GM candidate? I hope Mr Sullivan is successful. Hickey probably shoots cats in his off time,,,,well, its a little bit funny.

  9. I have never heard that the ADA requires a reasonable accommodation be made for someone other than an employee. How can it be a violation of the law when the accommodated is for the disability of the employee’s wife?

    It almost sounds like someone is trying to apply parts of Family Medical Leave Act to the ADA.

  10. So this guy did all his scouting from his couch? Man I wish I got paid to do what I do every Saturday anyway. Btw this has nothing to do with the Martin situation so stop mentioning it.

  11. Who cares if the Fins did it right? Mr. Sullivan is out a job and his wife is ill. This guy is going through hell.

    Hope he finds work. Maybe the patriots will pick him up so they learn more about the inner workings of an AFC rival.

  12. The Dolphins are the most classless team in the league. The owner runs the team like a circus, brings in washed up celebs as ‘part owners”, and has the most inept front office imaginable. They are embarrassments to the Shield.
    Go Donald Sterling!!!!!!

  13. The thing that’s monumentally stupid here is that the Dolphins are taking a huge PR hit and will likely have to settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit…all so they could fire a guy they were probably “only” paying 5-figures a year with some extended payouts in benefits. Just doing the cost-to-benefit analysis, you have to think it was probably easier to just continue to employ him, no? You’d think there could have been an easier/nicer way to handle the situation.

  14. agree with the p.r hit, but they won’t lose the case.

    still seems like a lot of bad pub for less than 100k in all likelihood.

    and to those blaming the scout for the draft picks, you must be kidding, right?

    and to those blaming the ADA or FMLA for the employment discrimination encountered by people with disabilities, you must be ignoring history and the facts to propel some political theory….because anyone with a memory or a brain would understand that this type of discrimination has been the norm throughout history (and prior to any laws)

  15. At least Hickey is cleaning house. They have been okay to bad for so many years I am surprised he isn’t getting rid of more people.

  16. The ADA act mandates accommodations for HIS WIFE, who has the disability, not family members or a spouse.

    So the ADA is not in play here with reference to HIS JOB. They are just grasping for straws.

    FMLA is allowed for him to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care of his wife, but this is not a permanent situation either.

    While I feel for him and his wife, as my husband is disabled also, this is just another law that someone is abusing and using to their own advantage.

    He better be careful. If it makes it to court, they will tear apart every single activity he/she has done and how her disability affected or didn’t affect it. This is opening a can of worms he might not want opened. Especially if she is drawing any disability payments for her health issues.

    If he is indeed her caretaker, then then are programs that he can be registered as her caretaker and be paid to care for her if he needs a job.

  17. Mr Sullivan did a good enough job that 3 hall of fame coaches thought he was important enough to keep – even while working from home. But a 4th option GM with a lifetime win percentage of 33% thinks he’s got to go – WOW. I hope Mr Sullivan gets his due AND Mr Ross gets slayed. No wonder the Phins keep shooting themselves in the foot.

  18. I think the head secretary’s dog had the hicups about that same time period. So how many people will be working from home and how many will be at the office? Get real.

  19. If he has been a MIA scout since 2004 he deserved to be fired for hundreds of legitimate reasons.

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