On the heels of suspending football operations, the Alliance of American Football is facing two separate class-action lawsuits from former employees–including one from players.
Last week, the AAF announced that it was suspending football operations before the conclusion of its inaugural season. Although the league has not folded completely, the move to suspend football operations has led to most employees losing their jobs and left the AAF’s long-term future in doubt.
Two class-action lawsuits have been filed since the AAF’s decision to suspend football operations. One lawsuit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, was filed by former Birmingham Iron employee James Ernest Roberson Jr. His lawsuit contends that the AAF violated the federal WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988) by not providing 60 days notice ahead of a mass layoff.
The separate lawsuit includes two former players, Colton Schmidt and Reggie Northrup, as plaintiffs. In that case, the suit contends that AAF committed a breach of contract and mislead players about the long-term financially viability of the league. Both lawsuits were filed in California and, while they are separate cases and do not name identical defendants, amount to the most high-profile legal cases since the AAF suspended football operations. More from ESPN:
Both were filed in California. The players’ suit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, and James Earnest Roberson Jr.’s suit was filed in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California. Both are suing the AAF, although the individuals sued in each one are different.
Roberson is suing the AAF and its LLC, Legendary Field Exhibitions, along with a handful of investors, including former NFL player Jared Allen, who also worked for the Alliance. League co-founder Bill Polian, MGM Resorts International, Troy Polamalu and J.K. McKay also are listed as co-defendants.
The players’ lawsuit, filed by Colton Schmidt and Reggie Northrup, is suing the league under the name AAF Players, along with Legendary Field Exhibitions, league owner Tom Dundon, league co-founder Charlie Ebersol and the Ebersol Sports Media Group.
“This is a wholesale destruction of an entire football league,” said Boris Treyzon, one of the attorneys suing on behalf of the players. “Once we started looking at the facts, we saw that this is basically a wholesale betrayal of a group of people.”
Although the AAF had encountered several difficulties during its first season, the announcement that it was suspending football operations with just weeks remaining in the 2019 campaign came as a surprise to many. In a statement last week (shown in full below), the AAF said that “[d]ue to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision.”
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) April 6, 2019
Image courtesy The Alliance.
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