The Work

November 1, 2010 1:14 PM

Jets Hire Seyfarth Shaw in Favre Sexting Scandal

Posted by Brian Baxter

Sunday wasn't a good day for the New York Jets or former Gang Green quarterback Brett Favre. The team lost 9-0 to the Green Bay Packers, while Favre, who played for the Jets in 2008, was knocked out of his team's 28-18 loss to the New England Patriots.

Things aren't going so well for Favre or the Jets off the field, either.

The Am Law Daily has learned that the team has retained Seyfarth Shaw labor and employment partner Gary Glaser for representation in the unfolding scandal that erupted in early October over text messages allegedly sent by Favre to former Jets employee Jenn Sterger two years ago.

Glaser confirmed his hiring when contacted by The Am Law Daily Monday morning.

"Our firm has represented the Jets and many other NFL teams in connection with their workers' comp matters for years and I've had a personal relationship with their in-house counsel for quite some time," says Glaser. "But I was only recently retained by the Jets to handle their labor and employment [issues]."

Glaser declined to comment on whether he was preparing his client for a possible employment suit and team spokesman Bruce Speights did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the team had entered settlement discussions with Sterger.

The Sterger/Favre scandal broke earlier this month when published text messages, photos, and voicemail messages allegedly sent by Favre to Sterger in 2008. At the time, Sterger worked as a sideline reporter for the team. When the NFL's security arm launched its own investigation in the wake of the Deadspin story, Sterger hired Joseph Conway of Mineola, N.Y.-based LaRusso & Conway to represent her.

Sibling publication Corporate Counsel recently reported that the Jets franchise could end up as the target of an employment suit because, according to the Deadspin report, a Jets public relations employee helped facilitate contact between Favre and Sterger.

Glaser says that his "business relationship" with the Jets helped him land his current assignment for the team. He's previously worked with Jets director of legal affairs Hymie Elhai and former team general counsel Andrew Lee. (Glaser and Lee serve on the board of directors of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.)

Seyfarth is one of the largest employment law firms in the country, and was in the news recently as one of three firms hired by Hewlett-Packard in September to work on the company's since settled civil suit against former CEO Mark Hurd. According to a bio on the firm's Web site, Glaser has more than 30 years of experience representing a broad base of clients in numerous labor and employment actions.

Charley Casserly of CBS Sports reported this past weekend that the Jets and Favre had not yet decided on a possible settlement with Sterger, whose camp is threatening a possible civil suit against both the team and its former quarterback.

While not commenting on the possibility of litigation, Sterger's lawyer Conway told ESPN on Sunday that his client would meet with NFL investigators later this week at an undisclosed location to discuss what she says transpired between her and Favre two years ago.

Sterger initially rebuffed league security personnel, and the NFL was set to wrap up its investigation. Things changed when Sterger lost her job on Friday after the Versus network decided to cancel the sports show she cohosted.

Sources familiar with the NFL's investigation tell The Am Law Daily that the league has not retained its own counsel on the Favre/Sterger matter because it does not face any potential liability. The NFL is primarily focused on whether Favre should be suspended from play or whether the Jets franchise should be sanctioned over their alleged actions. (Glaser says that he hasn't been in touch with the NFL, but that Jets representatives have spoken with league officials directly.)

It was unclear as of early Monday afternoon whether Favre has hired his own separate counsel in response to the NFL inquiry, although one source tells The Am Law Daily that the quarterback's agent, James "Bus" Cook, Jr., is licensed to practice in Mississippi, where Favre resides.

Cook owns and operates B.C. Sports, Inc., and has represented Favre for years. He sat in during meetings between his client and league officials earlier this month, according to various news sources.

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