WWHGD Defending NFL in Lawsuit Filed By Six Players
Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial has been selected to represent the National Football League in a lawsuit filed by six current and former players, including Denver Broncos eight-time Pro-Bowler Steve Atwater and Philadelphia Eagles four-time Pro-Bowler Blaine Bishop. The suit, which was filed June 23 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, seeks to recoup $20 million the players lost in an alleged fraud scheme orchestrated by a now indicted hedge fund manager.
The players allege that the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) were negligent in endorsing the investment services of Kirk Wright and his Atlanta-based firm International Management Associates (IMA).
Wright was arrested at the Four Seasons in Miami Beach in May on federal fraud charges. He also faces a lawsuit filed by the SEC against his company. Since 1997, authorities say Wright and IMA collected as much as $185 million from some 500 investors, then used false statements and documents to lead many of those clients to believe their investments were growing. Much of that money is now missing and IMA is in bankruptcy.
The NFL and NFLPA filed a motion to dismiss the suit on August 25, 2006. WWHGD partner Billy Gunn, who is leading the NFL defense, said the players' collective bargaining agreement "established that players shall bear all responsibility for their personal finances." Furthermore, the league and players’ union contend that the agreement requires disputes, such as the one raised in the lawsuit, be handled through arbitration, not litigation.
Mr. Gunn is being assisted in the defense by WWHGD attorneys Johnny Krawcheck and David Matthews.