Commissioner has “final and binding” power to determine legal fees to be paid by Jerry Jones

Getty Images

The effort to recover legal fees, reportedly in excess of $2 million, from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones does not arise under the rule that allows Commissioner Roger Goodell to impose punishment for conduct detrimental to the game. Instead, the authority comes from Resolution FC-6, adopted in 1997.

Resolution FC-6 specifically relates to any effort by “any member club or any entity controlled by any direct or indirect owner of an interest in a member club” that becomes involved in litigation against the NFL or any of the member clubs. The resolution, a copy of which PFT has obtained, applies not only when a member club initiates litigation against the league or other member clubs but also when a member club “joins, has a direct, football-related financial interest in, or offers substantial assistance in any lawsuit or other legal, regulatory, or administrative proceeding” against the league or other member clubs.

Resolution FC-6 gives the Commissioner or his designee “final and binding” authority” to “determine the amount of said legal fees, litigation expenses, and costs,” after the club to be charged those amounts has “notice and an opportunity . . . to be heard.”

So what do these provisions mean, as it relates to the effort to collect more than $2 million from Jones?

First, the claim won’t be against Jones directly, but against the Cowboys. It’s a distinction without a difference, but the reports indicating that the effort will be targeted against Jones personally makes it feel more like revenge or retribution than it would be if the effort were reported more accurately as a claim only against the Cowboys.

Second, as it relates to the Jones’ effort to block the Commissioner’s contract extension via threat of litigation, no lawsuit was ever filed. Resolution FC-6 applies only when a member club “initiates, has a direct football-related financial interest in, or offers substantial assistance to any lawsuit or other legal, regulatory, or administrative proceeding.” The flurry of letters and communications that occur under the threat of a potential lawsuit (a common practice in civil litigation) do not constitute actual litigation. Thus, the Cowboys/Jones will be able to argue that none of the fees incurred in connection with his retention of lawyer David Boies and the back-and-forth arising from the mere possibility of litigation fall within the scope of Resolution FC-6.

Third, the Cowboys/Jones specifically refrained from becoming involved in the Ezekiel Elliott litigation. Team executive Stephen Jones characterized the team as “observers” in the litigation initially filed by Elliott in Texas, which was followed by the league filing a lawsuit of its own in New York.

Fourth, the question will become whether the Cowboys/Jones crossed the line into offering “substantial assistance” to Elliott via the declaration filed by Cowboys general counsel Jason Cohen (who testified that the Cowboys would suffer irreparable harm if Elliott is suspended and who corroborated the alleged effort to conceal the opinions of league investigator Kia Roberts from Goodell) or other specific help that the Cowboys provided.

Fifth, the Cowboys/Jones will have an opportunity, if they so desire, to pore over all of the various invoices and other itemizations of charges to argue that the lawyers charged too much for their services or otherwise engaged in unnecessary or irrelevant projects. If the details of any invoices showing excessive legal charges make their way into the hands of the media, that could prove to be embarrassing to the league.

Sixth, Resolution FC-6 specifically preserves the ability of the Commissioner to impose punishment against Jones for conduct detrimental to the league. Thus, the issue of legal fees may be not the end of this effort to recover money from Jones for his behavior in 2017, but the beginning.

Seventh, while Resolution FC-6 gives the Commissioner the sole power to determine the amount of fees to be paid, it’s silent as to the process for resolving the question of whether a member club has actually triggered the reimbursement obligation. Ultimately, then, the Cowboys/Jones eventually could file litigation aimed at proving that the Cowboys/Jones never filed litigation or substantially assisted litigation filed by Elliott.

70 responses to “Commissioner has “final and binding” power to determine legal fees to be paid by Jerry Jones

  1. I live in a (mostly) German speaking country, where all of the laws seem to originate from the idea: “don’t be a schmuck”.

    I don’t see how the NFL can penalize Jones unless they’re operating under the same legal framework.

  2. .
    Considering that Goodell’s legal team of Pash and Gardi are paid more than 7 million a year by the NFL, giving each a million dollars for inconvenience seems reasonable.
    .

  3. First, the claim won’t be against Jones directly, but against the Cowboys. It’s a distinction without a difference ..

    ———————

    Agreed. The other owners want Jerry to pay a multi-million dollar fine, the rest is marketing.

  4. Roger demands reimbursement of his legal fees, Jerry refuses, and a lawsuit is filed to force the repayment of legal fees. Then Roger demands reimbursement of the legal fees to enforce the prior demand under these rules, Jerry refuses, and a lawsuit is filed. This could go on until the end of time.

  5. Jones should be fined $500k for fake news that Goodell wanted a plane for life – it came out just after he learned Zeke was going down and just as quit his extra observer’s seat on the committee.

    Maybe now Kraft-haters like Jerrah can see why any legals by Kraft over Brady would’ve been self-defeating. Well Jerrah, if Kraft was a “p*ssy” as you put it, all this just makes you a dumb p*ssy.

  6. Doesn’t seem as if the league has much to stand on, since the Cowboys weren’t actually ‘initiating’ any litigation. Roger Goodell knows this, being the slimy lawyer he is, therefore it is a revenge motive. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Too much? I dunno, but I don’t believe this is the panacea that helps Goodell reverse the declining ratings.

  7. There are possible counterclaims the Cowboys could file. I believe that the NFL and specifically Goodell, have a fiduciary duty to the owners. Goodell may be in breach of that duty by inviting litigation against the league. Maybe Mike could expand on that if he agrees.

  8. These are the back and forth media stories that usually proceed a court case. Really the only question I have at this point is who files first.

  9. If this was applied to all clubs for all event than it would probably hold up in court. If not, then Roger has a problem. My guess is the NFL will not want this to go to court and have other things come out.

  10. I would think that if the league tries to stick Jerry with 2 million in fees that he really will get some kind of legal action stirred up. 2 mil to this guy is chump change…but his pride would spend a lot more to try and not pay the 2 mil. His ego knows no bounds, heck he spent much more than that for a party to celebrate his induction into the hall of fame!

  11. This is going nowhere. Unlike the Elliott case, Roger can’t drag this on and demand that Jones pay anything.

    Bozo Goodell had the power to do so against Elliott (despite zero evidence), but Jones didn’t litigate, so this is a moot point.

    It doesn’t mean Mara, l mean Goodell, won’t try to milk it for all it’s worth, but Roger has no dog in this fight.

    Sorry haters, but this story is all click bait, and Mara will be seething that no cap space deductions are a possibility here as well.

  12. exhelodrvr says: “Another example of the commissioner having too much power.”
    —————-

    The OWNERS specifically passed this resolution in 1997 to deal with situations like this so any NFL commissioner wouldn’t need to do it himself.

  13. notlistinin says:
    February 27, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Doesn’t seem as if the league has much to stand on…
    —————————–

    Since when has that ever mattered?

    The irony in all of this is that Jerry was the one that was trying to protect the integrity of the league, but everyone else went ahead with Goodells contract extension, even though there was no reason to rush it.

  14. The NFL is a collection of 32 owners. When one owner brings a lawsuit against the “league”, he’s basically suing himself too. It seems only fair that doing so, he should bear full cost of all legal fees.

  15. mmack66 says: “The irony in all of this is that Jerry was the one that was trying to protect the integrity of the league, but everyone else went ahead with Goodells contract extension, even though there was no reason to rush it.”
    ——————-

    Bull. The compensation committee was given FULL negotiation authority by every owner in a vote, including Jones. And if McDaniels and Schiano incidents taught us anything, it’s to get the contracted SIGNED once the details have already been hammered out.

  16. I doubt this will fly well with other owners. It’s one thing to discipline somebody but to just pull big numbers out of the air and claim you were forced to spend it on legal fees when you were never actually sued is something else entirely. It’ll get other owners to thinking about what might happen if Roger ever gets upset with them. Goodell’s ego it STILL going to get him canned at some point, even with the recent extension.

  17. I don’t know why I even bother watching this sport anymore. I love the game itself, the sport just has no integrity with the front office having too much power. Their is no fairness, only Goodell getting whatever he wants.

  18. @nhpats,

    Really? Brady destroyed a cell phone, and there was actually evidence there, unlike Elliott’s case, but Bozo Goodell had power to act in both.

    In this instance, no litigation equals no fine. Goodell has no power here, so how does this equal “karma”, exactly? Oh wait – is it because the Patriots just lost the SB (the 3rd time) to an NFC East team?

  19. exinsidetrader says: “Giving incompetent Roger an extension will prove to be a very bad decision.”
    ———————–

    Goodell just got Fox Sports to fork over $660 MILLION for Thursday Night Football, almost $210m more than the previous contract. This, after ratings for all television programs dropping; this after fans whining about “poor” TNF games; this after players complain about short recovery time (but not complaining about the extra money).

    Seems Goodell is a lot more business-savvy than an “exinsidertrader”.

  20. Legally its a pretty weak argument from the NFL’s side. But then again the NFL (i.e. Goodell) has Gestapo like power outside the legal system, so he’ll probably prevail.

  21. Roger Goodell flexing his massive ego yet again. The owners got what they deserved wth this egomaniac. Funny thing is that Jones was actually right. I never agree with him and always root for Jones to get th short end of the stick but he was right about Goodell. The other owners were just too lazy to search for a replacement.

  22. somatg3 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:42 am
    Roger Goodell flexing his massive ego yet again. The owners got what they deserved wth this egomaniac. Funny thing is that Jones was actually right. I never agree with him and always root for Jones to get th short end of the stick but he was right about Goodell. The other owners were just too lazy to search for a replacement.

    ———
    Enough of this “Jones was right” crap. Jones sat back and did nothing and even supported Goodell when he railroaded Brady, punished the Saints, took draft picks from KC while giving the Jets a pass for the same infraction, etc…etc…

    Jones only decided to “care” when for whatever reason Goodell targeted his team. Jerry is getting everything that Jerry deserves here.

  23. “…this after players complain about short recovery time (but not complaining about the extra money)…”

    This is silly. Ofcourse short recovery time is an issue, and ofcourse getting extra money is never gonna be an issue. What’s the point of this statement? It’s like being in any situation where there’s something good and something bad. No one is gonna complain about the good things. Does that make them wrong or something?

  24. jsrdc says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:35 am
    @nhpats,

    Really? Brady destroyed a cell phone, and there was actually evidence there, unlike Elliott’s case, but Bozo Goodell had power to act in both.

    In this instance, no litigation equals no fine. Goodell has no power here, so how does this equal “karma”, exactly? Oh wait – is it because the Patriots just lost the SB (the 3rd time) to an NFC East team?

    —————

    Who cared if Brady “destroyed a cell phone”? If you were Brady, would you hand over your personal phone to Goodell and the NFL? None if this is relevant as the NFL did not even have evidence that anything took place with the footballs. And if it did, then why were the Colts not also punished as all but one of their balls were below legal inflation as well?

    This was a scheme cooked up by Harbaugh and the Colts from the beginning and Goodell was more than happy to interject himself. And Jones did nothing but support Der Leader. Jones is getting what he deserves here.

  25. Jerry should wear a Goodell clown shirt to the draft in Dallas.

    A company as big as the NFL has full time lawyers and additional lawyers on retainer. I doubt it cost then any additional money.

  26. mmack66 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:20 am
    notlistinin says:
    February 27, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Doesn’t seem as if the league has much to stand on…
    —————————–

    Since when has that ever mattered?

    The irony in all of this is that Jerry was the one that was trying to protect the integrity of the league, but everyone else went ahead with Goodells contract extension, even though there was no reason to rush it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I don’t believe that for a second. JJ was all about keeping Goodell as commissioner UNTIL roger ruled on Elliot in a way JJ didn’t like. His prize player was being suspended. JJ wasn’t protecting the integrity of anything except his ego.

  27. eaglesnoles05 says: “‘…this after players complain about short recovery time (but not complaining about the extra money)…’

    This is silly. Ofcourse short recovery time is an issue, and ofcourse getting extra money is never gonna be an issue. What’s the point of this statement?”
    ————————-

    The point is players could’ve NEGOTIATED OUT Thursday Night Football in the CBA if they really wanted to. But then they’d also be giving up their revenue share of TNF, which I don’t see too many players advocating.

  28. As any Patriots fan can attest, Roger has WAY WAY WAY too much power, and NO checks and balances. He told a judge that the CBA doesn’t require him to be neutral or fair as an arbitrator on his own decision. Judge agreed, it doesn’t require it. Same story here. They gave him too much power.

  29. @nhpats,
    Brady destroying his cell phones equals tampering with evidence, Einstein. I don’t personally care, as Goodell abuses his power, but lawyers do care, and Tom was suspended 4 games. I am not sure why you really care – the Falcons choked away the SB and allowed the Pats to hoist the Lombardi despite Tom missing the 4 games.

    I guess you don’t read so efficiently – Jerry is “getting what he deserves”? Maybe in your mind he is because you feel he supported Goodell when Tom violated NFL rules. Jerry didn’t litigate against Goodell or the NFL, so Goodell cannot impose fines or demand reimbursement for legal fees sans litigation.

    Did you actually read past the title, bro?

  30. jsrdc says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:35 am
    @nhpats,

    Really? Brady destroyed a cell phone, and there was actually evidence there, unlike Elliott’s case, but Bozo Goodell had power to act in both.

    In this instance, no litigation equals no fine. Goodell has no power here, so how does this equal “karma”, exactly? Oh wait – is it because the Patriots just lost the SB (the 3rd time) to an NFC East team?
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    This is the kind of stupidity we have come to expect. If you believed in karma, then 5 SB rings says the Patriots have pretty good karma. Brady was NOT REQUIRED by law to submit his cell phone. The NFL wanted him to, the NFLPA did not. When you look at how fast the tapes the Patriots turned over to the league leaked, you’d know WHY he didn’t. The court did not rule on Brady turning or not turning a phone over. All they ruled on was whether the NFL had to be a neutral or fair arbitrator. They said they contractually did not have to be.
    But you start with your voodoo karma crap and ignore the fact that the Patriots lost 3 out of 8 in the last 20 years. NAME ONE OTHER TEAM THAT MADE IT THERE 8 TIMES IN THE LAST 20 YEARS. Moron.

  31. The main reason Jerry Jones had no support from other owners when it came to Goodell’s extension is because they knew they would get railroaded by the refs consistently every game. Plain and simple.

  32. Another needless powerplay by Goodell. It’s not “his” money he is spending its the owners. Is there a chance the other owners pressured Goodell to recoup the fees? Its either that or this is another “article 46” type power play. Either one makes the NFL look astonishingly petty.

  33. xargscutgrep says:
    February 27, 2018 at 6:36 am
    I live in a (mostly) German speaking country, where all of the laws seem to originate from the idea: “don’t be a schmuck”.
    I don’t see how the NFL can penalize Jones unless they’re operating under the same legal framework.

    ——————————————————————

    This isn’t a U.S. law. It is a policy within a business, which all teams including the Cowboys voted on.

  34. jsrdc says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Really? Brady destroyed a cell phone, and there was actually evidence there…
    ———————-

    What actual evidence was that?

  35. The main reason Jerry Jones had no support from other owners when it came to Goodell’s extension is because they knew they would get railroaded by the refs consistently every game. Plain and simple.
    ====================================================
    Evidence: Cowboy’s 2017 opponents had zero offensive holding calls against them in 33 quarters after Goodell’s extension was announced.

  36. jones and many other owners were jealous of kraft’s success (belichick’s) so they used the league office to try to stop them (totally without success) through bs penalties in 07 and again in 2014.

    kraft and many others were jealous of the cowboys’ franchise value and jones’ assumed status, so they used the league office to damage him when he overplayed his hand.

    it’s all a political and financial power play, freely reinterpreting the rules on the fly depending on who can hold a gun to goodell’s head.

  37. nhpats says:
    February 27, 2018 at 8:52 am
    Remember when Jerry thought Goodell was doing a great job when he railroaded Brady

    Is there ever a thread where pats fans don’t try to justify their cheating? Spare us the whining this has nothing to do with NE.

  38. meccalambeaufield3 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Spare us the whining this has nothing to do with NE.
    ———————–

    It has to do with Goodell’s gross incompetence, which New England has been subject to twice.

  39. askeddie11 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 7:01 am
    You should let sleeping dogs lie, This is retaliation plain and simple.

    85 21 Rate This

    —————-

    it is goodell

    what do you expect? this is what he does

    when he gets caught framing someone and is called on it, he gets ticked off and retaliates like a petulant little child

  40. somatg3 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:42 am
    Roger Goodell flexing his massive ego yet again. The owners got what they deserved wth this egomaniac. Funny thing is that Jones was actually right. I never agree with him and always root for Jones to get th short end of the stick but he was right about Goodell. The other owners were just too lazy to search for a replacement.

    20 5 Rate This

    ————-

    too lazy or afraid a new maybe honorable commissioner might challenge the cte findings and/or not be as excited to openly cheat a team, its coach or players?

  41. Is there ever a thread where pats fans don’t try to justify their cheating? Spare us the whining this has nothing to do with NE.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Is there ever a thread where Pats haters support their cheating claims with evidence? Spare us the whining, we know all your tired arguments lack evidence, support, and common sense. To continue to claim that Deflategate was not a railroad job when anyone with half a brain was able to see through it tells us more about you then Pats fans. Its tired an embarrassing.

  42. Brady destroying his cell phones equals tampering with evidence, Einstein
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Actually Einstein, no it does not. The NFL did not have any subpoena power to Brady’s personal phone, and therefore, he could do whatever he wanted to it without “tampering”. Had the NFL asked for Giselle’s underwear, would Brady have been required to turn that over too? He was not required to turn anything over. There was no tampering with evidence. Since the original ball deflation infraction was proven to be a joke, the NFL tried to save face with a failure to corporate charge. Again, its laughable to suggest anything nefarious happened. But I guess you never read past any headlines, Bro

  43. akira554 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:25 am
    The NFL is a collection of 32 owners. When one owner brings a lawsuit against the “league”, he’s basically suing himself too. It seems only fair that doing so, he should bear full cost of all legal fees.
    ——————————————————————–

    A threat does not constitute actual initiating of litigation. There was no lawsuit. What part of that is hard for you to understand? Das Fuhrer DbagGoodell has zero to stand on here; there will be no action.

  44. meccalambeaufield3 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 11:57 am
    nhpats says:
    February 27, 2018 at 8:52 am
    Remember when Jerry thought Goodell was doing a great job when he railroaded Brady

    Is there ever a thread where pats fans don’t try to justify their cheating? Spare us the whining this has nothing to do with NE.

    _______________________________________________________________

    THIS!! The incessant whining is just incredibly annoying. This post has NOTHING to do with the Pats but don’t tell their fans that. It’s all they know to do.

  45. jsrdc says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:35 am
    @nhpats,

    Really? Brady destroyed a cell phone, and there was actually evidence there, unlike Elliott’s case, but Bozo Goodell had power to act in both.

    The only bozos are those who believe that Brady should have turned over his phone after being told it wasn’t needed.

  46. Wisconsin77 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 11:12 am
    xargscutgrep says:
    February 27, 2018 at 6:36 am
    I live in a (mostly) German speaking country, where all of the laws seem to originate from the idea: “don’t be a schmuck”.
    I don’t see how the NFL can penalize Jones unless they’re operating under the same legal framework.

    ——————————————————————

    This isn’t a U.S. law. It is a policy within a business, which all teams including the Cowboys voted on.

    1 1 Rate This

    ————-

    the nfl is incorporated in the united states of america

    the fact multi billion dollar businesses think the law does not apply to them, is the problem

    all about money

    goodell also paid off judges parker and chin in the brady appeal

  47. bentedges says:
    February 27, 2018 at 12:58 pm
    meccalambeaufield3 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 11:57 am
    nhpats says:
    February 27, 2018 at 8:52 am
    Remember when Jerry thought Goodell was doing a great job when he railroaded Brady

    Is there ever a thread where pats fans don’t try to justify their cheating? Spare us the whining this has nothing to do with NE.

    _______________________________________________________________

    THIS!! The incessant whining is just incredibly annoying. This post has NOTHING to do with the Pats but don’t tell their fans that. It’s all they know to do.

    0 1 Rate This

    ————————

    wouldn’t it be easier if the nfl didn’t have a batch of cheating owners and a cheating commissioner?

    always go to the root of a problem to fix it

  48. jsrdc says:
    February 27, 2018 at 9:35 am
    @nhpats,

    Really? Brady destroyed a cell phone, and there was actually evidence there,

    ————————-
    You apparently have info no one else does, including the league. Please turn it in because unless you are just making this up you have exactly what is needed to screw those Patriots good. At the least you could get Goodell to revista Bradys suspension and add some more weeks. So please, give it up if you really do have it.

  49. Just curious, lets say Jerry takes this to court. So rhey go to court, and Goodell wins. Does he then go back for those court costs too? But then what if Jerry takes that to court too, and Goodell wins. Does Goodell then…and on it goes.

  50. Frankly I think if this went to court the discovery process would be a hoot. My guess is the NFL would back down before they ever let a subpoena like that to happen.

  51. NBA: Mark Cuban makes public statement. 4 days later Adam Silver finds him $600K. It’s over. Silver makes $10M per year.

    NFL: Jerry Jones makes public statemeny. Roger Goodelll spends $2M on attorneys (not to mention having Pash as internal counsel on the payroll for as much as Beilichick makes), and 4 months to fine Jones $2M.

    Doesn’t all of this prove Jones point? NFL league office has a massive payroll, but doesn’t do anything. The only thing Goodell knows how to do is make press releases. Press releases don’t solve problems. In this case, the press releases are alienating the fan base. So why on earth would the committee give Goodell a $200M extension? The only conceivable reason is to delay or prevent Goodell’s book about how the NFL plans to market around the concussion issue.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!