Arizona Cardinals Football Club, Inc. et al v. Bryant et al

Filing 1

COMPLAINT. Filing fee received: $ 350.00, receipt number 09700000000002167027, filed by Arizona Cardinals Football Club, Inc., National Football League Management Council. ADDITIONAL CORRECTIVE ENTRY DUE TO ATTORNEY SELECTING INCORRECT EVENT FOR INITIATING DOCUMENT.(CMH, ) Modified on 8/21/2008 (CMH, ).

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ARIZONA CARDINALS FOOTBALL CLUB, INC. et al Doc. 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. 2575 East Camelback Road Phoenix, Arizona 85016-9225 (602) 530-8000 Michael K. Kennedy (Bar No. 04224) Michael R. Ross (Bar No. 16735) GALLAGHER & KENNEDY, P.A. 2575 East Camelback Road Phoenix, Arizona 85016-9225 Telephone: (602) 530-8000 Facsimile: (602) 530-8500 Email: mrr@gknet.com Attorneys for Plaintiffs IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA ARIZONA CARDINALS FOOTBALL CLUB, INC., an Arizona corporation; and NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE MANAGEMENT COUNCIL, a non-profit association, Plaintiffs, v. WENDELL BRYANT, an unmarried man; and NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION, a labor organization. Defendants. For their Complaint against Defendants Wendell Bryant ("Bryant") and the National Football League Players Association ("NFLPA"), Plaintiffs Arizona Cardinals Football Club, Inc. (the "Cardinals") and the National Football League Management Council (the "NFL Management Council") hereby allege as follows. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 1. This is an action to confirm an arbitration award pursuant to section 301 of Case No. COMPLAINT 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185 et seq. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter under 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 29 U.S.C. 185(c). Dockets.Justia.com 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 2. 185(a). Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391 and 29 U.S.C. PARTIES 3. The Cardinals is one of the member clubs of the National Football League ("NFL") with its principal place of business in Phoenix, Arizona. 4. The NFL Management Council is an unincorporated, non-profit association of the member clubs of the NFL with its principal place of business in New York, New York. The NFL Management Council is the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of present and future employer member clubs of the NFL. 5. Bryant is a former professional football player who was employed by the Cardinals in Phoenix, Arizona at all times relevant to this action. 6. The NFLPA is a labor organization certified by the National Labor Relations Board as the exclusive bargaining representative of all NFL players. The NFLPA regularly represents players employed in the District of Arizona, and some of its members reside in this judicial district. FACTS 7. The parties are bound by a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") negotiated between the NFL Management Council (on behalf of the NFL member clubs, including the Cardinals) and the NFLPA (on behalf of all NFL players, including Bryant). Relevant portions of the CBA are attached as Exhibit A. 8. All NFL Players must enter into an NFL Player Contract, which is incorporated in and governed by Article XIV and Appendix C of the NFL CBA. See Ex. A at 39-44, 231-239. 9. The NFL CBA contains an arbitration provision which mandates that all disputes between the parties involving the interpretation of, application of, or compliance with the NFL CBA and the NFL Player Contract be submitted to final and binding 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 arbitration before a mutually selected arbitrator. See Ex. A, Art. IX, 1, 6, & 8 at 2225. 10. In accordance with the CBA, the Cardinals and Bryant entered into an NFL Player Contract setting forth the terms of Bryant's employment. 11. On December 13, 2004, the Cardinals and the NFL Management Council filed a non-injury grievance against Bryant, demanding that Bryant repay the Cardinals $2,767,778.00 pursuant to the terms of his Player Contract. 12. On October 31, 2005, Bryant and the NFLPA filed a non-injury grievance against the Cardinals, demanding that the Cardinals pay Bryant the final installment of $300,000 of his signing bonus. 13. Pursuant to Article IX of the CBA, both the non-injury grievance filed by the Cardinals and the NFL Management Council and the non-injury grievance filed by Bryant and the NFLPA were subject to arbitration. See Ex. A at 22-26. 14. On May 31, 2006, an arbitration hearing was conducted before Arbitrator Shyam Das, an NFL arbitrator. The hearing took place in Tempe, Arizona. All of the relevant parties were present at the arbitration hearing, and all of the parties were represented by counsel. 15. On January 9, 2008, Arbitrator Das issued a written final award ("Award"). Relevant excerpts of the Award are attached as Exhibit B. 16. In relevant part, the Award states as follows: "1. The Arizona Cardinals' grievance against Wendell Bryant is sustained. Bryant shall forthwith repay the Cardinals the total sum of $2,767,778. 2. Wendell Bryant's grievance against the Arizona Cardinals is denied." Ex. B at 15. 17. Under Article IX, Section 8 of the CBA, the Award constitutes the "full, final and complete disposition of the grievance, and will be binding upon the player(s) and Club(s) involved and the parties to this Agreement . . . ." Ex. A at 25. 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 /// /// /// /// 18. To date, despite demand, Bryant has failed to repay the sum of $2,767,778.00 to the Cardinals in accordance with the Award. 19. Bryant has not sought to vacate, modify, or challenge the Award. The statutory time period within which Bryant would have been permitted to vacate, modify, or challenge the Award has expired. 20. Bryant, by his failure to pay the Cardinals $2,767,778.00 in accordance with the Award, has violated the collectively bargained for grievance and arbitration procedures set forth in the NFL CBA. 21. Plaintiffs are entitled to confirmation of the Award and entry of judgment in conformity with the Award pursuant to the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185. PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, the Arizona Cardinals and the National Football League Management Council respectfully request that this Court enter an Order: a) confirming the Award; b) entering judgment in favor of the Cardinals against Bryant for the sum of $2,767,778.00, plus interest from the date of entry of the Award; c) awarding Plaintiffs their attorneys' fees and costs in bringing this action; and d) providing Plaintiffs with such other and further relief as the Court deems proper. 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 1886199 DATED this 20th day of August 2008. GALLAGHER & KENNEDY, P.A. By s/Michael R. Ross Michael K. Kennedy Michael R. Ross 2575 East Camelback Road Phoenix, Arizona 85016-9225 Attorneys for Plaintiffs 5

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