Arizona Cardinals Football Club LLC, et al v. Pace

Filing 1

COMPLAINT. Filing fee received: $350.00, receipt number PHX 0970-4267943, filed by National Football League Management Council, Arizona Cardinals Football Club LLC (submitted by Michael Ross). (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(REK)

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Arizona Cardinals Football Club LLC, et al v. Pace Doc. 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ichael 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: Email: Attorneys for Plaintiffs UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF ARIZONA ARIZONA CARDINALS FOOTBALL CLUB LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE MANAGEMENT COUNCIL, a non-profit association, Plaintiffs, v. CALVIN PACE, an unmarried man, Defendant. For their Complaint against Defendant Calvin Pace ("Pace"), Plaintiffs Arizona Cardinals Football Club LLC (the "Club") and the National Football League Management Council (the "NFL Management Council") allege as follows. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 1. This is an action to confirm an arbitration award pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 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). 2. 185(a). Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391 and 29 U.S.C. Case No. COMPLAINT ! " # $ % &' ) * # &" # # # M 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ( %# 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 6. 3. 4. PARTIES The Club is one of the member clubs of the National Football League The NFL Management Council is an unincorporated non-profit association ("NFL") with its principal place of business in Tempe, Arizona. of the member clubs of the NFL, and is the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of present and future employer member clubs of the NFL. 5. Pace is a professional football player who was employed by the Club in FACTS The National Football League Players Association ("NFLPA") is a labor organization certified by the National Labor Relations Board as the exclusive bargaining representative of all NFL players. 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 Club) and the NFLPA (on behalf of all NFL players, including Pace). Relevant portions of the CBA applicable to this dispute are attached as Exhibit A. 8. All NFL Players employed by a member club must enter into an NFL Player Contract, which is incorporated in and governed by Article XIV of the CBA. See Ex. A at 39-44; 231-39. 9. The CBA contains an arbitration provision that mandates submission of all disputes between the parties involving the interpretation of, application of, or compliance with the CBA and the NFL Player Contract to final and binding arbitration before a mutually selected arbitrator. See Ex. A at 22-26; 237. 10. In accordance with the CBA, the Club and Pace entered into a four-year NFL Player Contract on July 29, 2003 setting forth the terms of Pace's employment. Tempe, Arizona at all times relevant to this action. 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 11. Pace's contract provided for certain bonus payments conditioned upon his adherence to all of the terms of his contract. Portions of Pace's bonus payments were subject to forfeiture if he "fail[ed]" "to report, practice or play with the [Club]." 12. On October 15, 2005, Pace severely injured his arm while wrestling with a friend. The injury precluded Pace from playing football for approximately four months and ended Pace's season. This failure to report, practice, and play with the Club constituted a breach of Pace's contract and triggered the contract's forfeiture provisions. 13. On January 13, 2006, the Club and the NFL Management Council filed a non-injury grievance against Pace, demanding that Pace repay the Club $2,773,437.00 in accordance to the terms of his Player Contract. 14. 15. Pursuant to Article IX of the CBA, the non-injury grievance was subject to On January 27, 2010, an arbitration hearing was conducted before arbitration. See Ex. A at 22-26. Arbitrator Michael H. Beck. The hearing took place in Tempe, Arizona. Present at the hearing were counsel for the NFL Management Council, on behalf of the Club, and counsel for the NFLPA, on behalf of Pace. 16. 17. On July 22, 2010, Arbitrator Beck issued a written final award ("Award"), In relevant part, the Award states as follows: "I. The Arizona Cardinals which is attached as Exhibit B. are contractually entitled to receive from Calvin Pace the sum of $2,773,437.00; II. Therefore, it is ordered that Calvin Pace pay to the Arizona Cardinals the sum of $2,773,437.00." Ex. B at 13. 18. 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 2529847 19. 20. 21. To date, Pace has failed to repay the sum of $2,773,437.00 to the Club in Pace has not sought to vacate, modify, or challenge the Award. Pace, by his failure to pay the Club $2,773,437.00 in accordance with the accordance with the Award. Award, has violated the collectively bargained for grievance and arbitration procedures set forth in the NFL CBA. 22. Plaintiffs are entitled to confirmation and enforcement of the Award and PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, the Club and the NFL Management Council respectfully request that this Court enter an Order: a. confirming the Award; b. entering judgment in favor of the Club against Pace for the sum of $2,773,437.00, plus interest in accordance with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 44-1201 from the date of entry of the Award; c. awarding Plaintiffs their attorneys' fees and costs in bringing this action under A.R.S. 12-341.01 and any other applicable law or agreement; and d. providing Plaintiffs with such other and further relief as the Court deems proper. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this 25th day of August, 2010. 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 entry of judgment in conformity with the Award pursuant to the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. 185. 4

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