Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why will Tom Brady win if he sues the NFL over Deflategate?” Good question. Timely too. (OK, there’s no room for clever quips today. So let’s get right to it.)
Hardcore readers of The Why may recall we discussed Tom Brady’s suspension in May. The piece remains in the Top 20 “Why” columns to date. Our guest speakers for today are Jason Belzer, contributor to Forbes, and attorney Michael Brandt, Esq.
They confirm it’s been over a month since Brady, the New England Patriots’ quarterback, appealed the four-game ban put on him by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his “alleged role in Deflategate.” Last week, the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) “extended a settlement offer” to the NFL but there’s been no response to date. Brady’s counsel made it clear they’re ready to “force Goodell’s hand by taking their fight to court” if the suspension isn’t lifted.
So why does Brady think he will triumph if he sues the NFL?
His” ability to prevail in court (or force a settlement) relies predominately on the legal concept of ‘Discovery’ “say our guest speakers. Well, that “and the potentially embarrassing implications” this has attached to it.
They explain: “Discovery is a formal procedure (available in all 50 states and the federal system) by which opposing parties may demand documents, information, and access to testimony from the opposing side (or from 3rd parties). “
(Doesn’t discovery drag out court cases?) Yes, they confirm that discovery “takes forever. “
They also agree that it can get really dirty. “While discovery is limited in scope, this limitation is minor, and you can ask for virtually anything. No one ever wants to give up information or documents.”
They add: “Evidence that is released to another party can be harmful to the NFL. No one wants to give up anything that they don’t have to. Brady could be so broad as to request all information on any communications the NFL has regarding punishment for ball tampering or all information communicated to the NFL from the Indianapolis Colts before the AFC Championship Game.
They specify: “Brady could subpoena the Colts organization for information. The NFL could subpoena the Patriots and their employees. This is why lawsuits cost so much money, because each piece of information literally takes hours to prepare, analyze and respond to.”
(So why would Brady score if he chose to sue?)
They conclude: “Lawsuits are incredibly expensive because of discovery. The fact that discovery exists often scares people out of lawsuits, and in this case, may be the leverage that forces the NFL to reduce the suspension. (Yeah, it’s a little too much to hope for that the rich and famous would just ‘fess up and take whatever punishment they deserve, huh?)
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