Brady v. NFL (Second Circuit)

Posted: May 10, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Civil Procedure, employment discrimination, Opinion Breakdown, Uncategorized

WHAT HAPPENED:  Tom Brady (allegedly) cheated in the NFC Championship game.  The NFL (allegedly) gave him a fair punishment and then (allegedly) a fair opportunity to contest that punishment through (alleged) arbitration.   The (alleged) arbitration was led by Roger Goodell, the (allegedly) competent head of the NFL who also gave the punishment that was being reviewed through arbitration.

WHAT IS THIS BEFORE ANY COURT:  Brady argues that the arbitration proceedings were unfair because (1)  the NFL withheld evidence, (2)  Goodell was a biased arbitrator, and (3) the punishment after arbitration was not the same as the punishment before.  The NFL argues that even if you assume all those things are correct, the NFL players agreed to allow all of those things to happen under their arbitration agreement.

WHAT WAS THE RULING:  The Second Circuit reversed the District Court ruling in favor of Brady, thus reinstating Brady’s punishment under the collective bargaining act.  The Court held that even though the arbitration probably wasn’t the best example of Due Process in our Nation’s history, the Labor Relations Act gives employers/employees full discretion to craft their dispute-resolution programs.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS:  If you are a smarmy, handsome QB who plays for a team that historically bends the rules, you may not be given all the legal loopholes available to argue plausible deniability.

WILL THIS GET TO THE SUPREME COURT:  Probably not.  Even though the standard of review for this kind of case lends itself to two reasonable outcomes, as the Court gets higher, it is less inclined to overturn decisions based on how that Court would have ruled opposed to the original court.  The decision at this level was fairly well-reasoned, based on the law, and even though its patently unfair, makes sense in a vacuum.  Sorry Pats fans.  Consider this payback for cheating in Super Bowl XXXIX.



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