September 21, 2020

Paul Weiss called in to investigate deflate-gate


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NFL-Article-201501261257By Jennifer Henderson, from The Am Law Daily

The National Football League has tapped Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to lead a probe into whether the New England Patriots used intentionally deflated balls during the first half of the American Football Conference title game against the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.

Partner and cochair of the litigation department Theodore “Ted” Wells Jr. will lead the investigation for the Paul Weiss team, which also includes chairman Brad Karp and litigation partner Lorin Reisner, according to the firm.

The investigation stems from information the NFL received that footballs used in the AFC title game—in which the Patriots delivered a 45-7 defeat of the Colts—were not inflated to the required air pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, according to a statement released by the league on Friday. Underinflated footballs may provide an advantage to the players who throw them, according to reports.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement on Friday in response to the probe: “I very much support the league’s desire to conduct a complete investigation and welcome the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process.”

Deflate-gate, as the controversy is now being called, has gotten plenty of attention in the lead-up to the Super Bowl this Sunday, in which the Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks.

The NFL is no stranger to controversy and has turned to Paul Weiss for legal advice in the past. In fact, the firm was listed as the league’s highest paid independent contractor at over $9 million paid for legal services, according to the NFL’s most recent Form 990 tax filing covering the period between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013.

In August 2013, Paul Weiss assisted the NFL in reaching a $765 million settlement after it had been sued by thousands of players who alleged they had sustained severe head injuries during play, as reported in sister publication The Litigation Daily. The Paul Weiss team involved in that matter included Karp and Wells, along with partners Beth Wilkinson, Bruce Birenboim, and Lynn Bayard. Jeffrey Pash and Anastasia Danias led the NFL’s in-house team, and Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss served as lead plaintiffs counsel.

In February the following year, Wells released a report following a Paul Weiss-led investigation into the alleged bullying of Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin and his ultimate departure from the team, The Am Law Daily reported. The report found repeated, severe harassment by fellow teammates Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. Karp, along with litigation partners Bruce Birenboim and David Brown comprised the Paul Weiss team on the investigation.

Photo by SpxChrome/iStock

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