Pierre-Paul’s lawsuit against ESPN, Schefter keeps going

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Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has gotten paid indirectly by the NFL’s broadcast partners for the past six years. He’s still hoping to get paid directly by one of those broadcast partners through the legal system.

The latest details in the invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by Pierre-Paul against ESPN and Adam Schefter surfaced recently from Julia Marsh of the New York Post.

ESPN and Schefter have taken an aggressive approach. First, ESPN and Schefter have exercised their right to remove the case from Florida state court to Florida federal court. That’s a no-brainer move in nearly every case of a company being sued in a state where it’s not headquartered or incorporated. Home cooking (or at least the perception of it) is very real when it comes to state courts vs. federal courts. State court judges are elected, which means that state court cases often skew in the favor of residents of the state and against the interests of those who aren’t. The mere fact that the federal government welcomes cases involving out-of-state defendants represents an official acknowledgment of this dynamic.

Second, ESPN and Schefter want the case to be thrown out based on First Amendment grounds.

“The First Amendment prohibits punishing truthful speech relating to matters of public concern,” ESPN and Schefter contend in paperwork filed in court, via Marsh. “It is clear that football, including a serious injury suffered by a professional football player, is a legitimate public concern.”

ESPN and Schefter also are pursuing sanctions, according to Marsh, against Pierre-Paul for filing an allegedly “meritless” case. That argument arises under Florida’s “SLAPP” statute, which prohibits the filing of lawsuits “without merit and primarily because [the defendant] has exercised the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue.” If successful, ESPN and Schefter will be entitled to recover the attorney fees incurred in defending against the case directly from Pierre-Paul.

In documents filed Thursday, Pierre-Paul explained that he’s not challenging whether the report regarding the amputation of his finger is newsworthy but whether ESPN and Schefter went beyond First Amendment protections by corroborating an undisputed report by publicizing a photograph of Pierre-Paul’s medical records.

“ESPN does not explain how [Pierre-Paul’s] medical records were of legitimate public concern, as opposed to simply reporting that the injury occurred,” Pierre-Paul’s lawyer writes. “Nothing exempt sports reporters from the law’s protection of medical records.”

The case heads to court for a hearing later this month. If the motion to dismiss filed by ESPN and Schefter is denied, the case eventually will be set for a trial.

28 responses to “Pierre-Paul’s lawsuit against ESPN, Schefter keeps going

  1. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Posting medical records is definitely one of them. Shifty was out of line. Sports ‘journalists’ shouldn’t be acting like paparazzi and even though bspn has become the bottom of the sports barrel it shouldn’t be sinking to the level of the national enquirer either.

  2. Should be an interesting case, hope ESPN and Schefter get their butts handed to them. How though can they request to take the case out of state court but then turn around and counter sue using state law?

  3. I’m not a 100% Schefter hater, and find him entertaining, but let’s not act like he’s not just a mouthpiece for agents. Posting medical records takes it beyond football, and to be honest, is just kind of pathetic.

  4. Dunno, wouldn’t it make more sense to sue the doctor or medical group that release these records? ESPN and Schefter didn’t walk into the doctor’s office, ask for the records then simply given them with no questions asked.

  5. Rabidboy says:
    May 8, 2016 10:01 AM

    Dunno, wouldn’t it make more sense to sue the doctor or medical group that release these records? ESPN and Schefter didn’t walk into the doctor’s office, ask for the records then simply given them with no questions asked.

    Pierre-Paul finished with the hospital late last year/early this year. Two people were fired, and an undisclosed settlement was paid.

  6. I hope Pierre-Paul sues ESPN and that little twerp Schefter back to the stone age. It’s always funny to me how so many Michigan grads work for ESPN but Michigan’s football team has been such a joke for so long now that even they can’t spew their regular biased garbage. I wonder how long their new god Harbaugh will stick around before he rubs everyone there the wrong way and wears out his welcome.

  7. Please attempt to find a First Amendment expert who supports JPP’s position. Take your time as you’ll need forever. This is so open-and-shut protected speech, the real question is the ethics of JPP’s counsel taking money for a lost cause. News organizations have printed personal information on public figures and top secret, illegally obtained data for decades. Any time a lawsuit’s been filed the right to publish the story has been upheld. This is just about money in some lawyers pockets.

  8. The right to free speech grants the ability to violate the privacy rights of others?
    That seems wrong on many levels.
    This is exactly what is wrong with America……people who make mistakes refuse to take responsibility for them. Schefter and ESPN are shameless.

  9. Surprised Disney is standing by Shefter, when it’s crystal clear he is massively in the wrong. 1st amendment argument is a joke, they directly breeched his privacy, also a guaranteed right. Then its published. Hefty settlement and some sort of gag clause seems the more logical stance for Disney.

  10. so i can be stupid enough to have an explosive blow up in my hand mangling my hand and get paid to play football while i am crippled and nearly worthless as a player and then since i was so stupid i can sue someone for publicizing what is common knowledge after i have sued the hospital.
    if he was so concerned about his privacy he shouldnt play with fireworks in his hands and make a spectacle of himself.
    he is just making a money grab. if he had exercised any kind of good judgement, this wouldnt have ever been an issue but it became an issue because he acted stupidly and irresponsibly.
    shame on him for being so stupid

  11. I like Schefter. I wish him well. He should lose this case though. He got over zealous and crossed some pretty obvious lines. ESPN is complicit. Pay up, apologize, and get back to the news.

  12. bowlregard says:
    May 8, 2016 11:31 AM
    Sounds like Shefty violated HIPAA law.

    Schefter is not a medical provider and does not work for an insurer or medical clearinghouse. By definition he can’t violate HIPPA. Whoever allowed him access did. That said, it was a vile thing to do and he certainly violated journalistic ethics (if such a thing can be said to exist anymore) by taking advantage of someone else knowingly breaking the law.

  13. Unfortunately, chesswhileyouplaycheckers and bearflagfan are well informed. HIPAA is only enforceable with medical professionals who have access to the information, and the First Amendment does protect journalists for reporting information that is compelling to the public interest. Like it or not, when JPP became a public figure, that came with benefits (like money and fame) and costs (like this). He did have a right to go after those who broke the law (the hospital and medical staff), but ESPN and Schefter broke no laws in doing their job.

  14. ESPN and Schefter will win this suit, and I know, much to the chagrin to the ESPN bashers. Schefter simply didn’t violate any laws nor cause JPP any financial harm.

    JPP ironically, is the reason for why Schefter is free to do what he did. He is a public figure who had an accident that created large compelling interest to the public. His trying to keep it secret, made the interest greater. The information released was not embarrassing, insulting nor did it stop him from employment, the employment situation was already a “done deal” regardless of any media reports.

  15. HIPPA laws do only apply to the Health Care facilities and Insurers that legal have your medical information which may ned up being involved in this case .. but if his medical documents were illegally obtained, which unless JPP handed it over I cant see the case being other wise ESPN has no legal right to publish under the first amendment

    Hulk Hogan just won a case having nothing to do with protected medical documents so Im guessing sooner than later this will settle with JPP getting another pay out

  16. if we start smacking the legitimate news media for reporting news worthy issues, we become exactly the kind of country we so often rave about… not a good idea

    ESPN did not leak his medical records, others did… the picture of his hand is a tiny portion of his medical record, and one that would have come into the public domain within hours no matter what, and one that has an immense impact on a key player and is of great public interest, and ESPN is not responsible for any actual damages that JPP might have suffered as a result of the leak as the leak was hitting the internet any minute anyway.

    if this goes through, next thing you know, a presidential candidate is going to sue 60 minutes for revealing they have been a lifelong Nazi being seen by a medical professional for schizophrenia and the news release harmed them… is this really the kind of precedent we as citizens want out there?

    the most striking thing about JPP long list of keystone cops errors he made here is him later coming out with that interview and showing himself unable to snatch a 40 pound bell without a steel hand strap… I know a few 50 year olds who can snatch an 80 pound bell barehanded and he labels himself at the prime of his football career as his hand being so weak he can’t effectively do the job…

    good luck with all these decisions JPP, you are gonna need it

  17. I do love how ESPiN fires people for “Tweets” then hires drug addict and recent DUI’er Abby Wambach.

  18. ……there’s a reason why we all have to sign the HIPAA form when we go to the doctors office …to protect OUR privacy…the hospital and ESPN violated it big time……Pay up Espn

  19. Rabidboy says:
    May 8, 2016 10:01 AM
    Dunno, wouldn’t it make more sense to sue the doctor or medical group that release these records? ESPN and Schefter didn’t walk into the doctor’s office, ask for the records then simply given them with no questions asked.

    The hospital and responsible parties are complicit. Those who were complicit in releasing the records lost their jobs. The hospital responded in a manner that would absolve them criminally going forward.

    But Schefter willfully pursued those records with this moral and ethical line crossed in the process. ESPN has its hands full with this one.

  20. “The First Amendment prohibits punishing truthful speech relating to matters of public concern,” ESPN and Schefter contend in paperwork filed in court, via Marsh.

    Curt Schilling says hello.

  21. Schefter is a sleaze. Never liked him. In fact, of his millions of Twitter followers, I’m certain that 99% despise him. And that’s a problem with this social media garbage….its a win-win. Admiration or hate, it doesn’t matter.

  22. People have mentioned that only the health providers broke the law. I guess that is debatable depending in how the 1st amendment is interpreted and how medical privacy laws overlap with that.

    Did Schefter just ask for the records and the staff simply gave them to him? He must have bribed them right? They likely just didn’t give it to him for nothing. Is that not breaking some law? Bribing a medical professional for a patients medical records? If it isn’t, it should be.

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