Revis Dispute Headlines New NFL-Related Litigation

Case filed By Jets DB Darrelle Revis is one of two major NFL-related lawsuits to emerge within the last week.

When one of an industry’s titans, like Darrelle Revis, files a lawsuit: take notice.

Multi-billion dollar behemoths, like the National Football League, are prone to litigation. It is important to examine all of the lawsuits filed around the business of football. This is because, often, lawsuits can be precursors to changes made in an effort to improve the product.

In the case of the NFL, lawsuits can drastically alter the product: the game on the field. How might some of the new cases effect the future of football?

Revis v. Schwartz

Current Jets defensive back Darrelle Revis is suing his former agents. Revis, formerly represented by New York-based agents Neil Schwartz & Jonathan Feinsod, feels his agents committed fraud against him.

According to the complaint filed by Revis’ attorney, this matter stems from an endorsement deal. Allegedly, Revis’ agents defrauded him out of 40% of revenue earned from a product endorsement. Revis claims his agents failed to properly disclose that they were retaining outside counsel to assist on that endorsement contract.

Revis’ suit also says that his former agents conspired to keep rightfully earned royalty fees from the National Football League. This could forced into arbitration pursuant to the NFLPA’s standard representation agreement.

Attorneys for Schwartz and Feinsod questioned the strength of the suit.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that Schwartz and Feinsod have been sued this year. Former employee Zac Hiller sued the agency; they allegedly paid Hiller only $10,000 for over 5 years of work.

Revis’ lawsuit was filed in Westchester County, New York last week.

Gaiter v. NFL

A class of former NFL players is suing the league and several teams. This class, led by former Patriots wide receiver Tony Gaiter, demands compensation for players with ‘living CTE.’

According to the complaint, medical science has advanced enough for players to be designated as having CTE.  CTE was previously only diagnosed post-mortem. The lawsuit says that symptoms consistent with brain damage warrant consideration as pre-CTE for these players.

While this case may not succeed for various reasons, one thing is interesting. The plaintiffs are demanding a declaratory judgement. This means they are seeking a declaration from the court seeking to resolve a question of legal uncertainty. The question here could be: is the NFL able to adequately compensate it’s living, former players for brain damage?

This case was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida.

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