By Joseph M. Hanna, of Goldberg Segalla
NFL player agent Vincent Porter is suing the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), claiming that they unfairly harassed him over dismissed criminal charges and ultimately ruined his professional reputation.
In 2014, Porter was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The NFLPA suspended Porter after the charges were announced and publicized his suspension. Porter entered a deferred prosecution agreement and eventually had his charges dismissed with prejudice. Following the dismissal of charges, the suspension was reversed in 2016 after an arbitration between Porter and the NFLPA.
Porter now alleges that the NFLPA took a number of actions to harass him. First, he claimed that the NFLPA never publicized his reinstatement, which harmed his ability to get clients. Next, he stated that the NFLPA launched an unnecessary second investigation into his actions. In his complaint, Porter said that he received an email in August 2016 stating that he failed to respond to a June request for an information release authorization. Porter alleged that he never received this June request, and through this email, he found out that the NFLPA was looking into the accuracy of his sworn statements. All of this allegedly occurred after the 2016 arbitration, and Porter claimed that this was an attempt by the NFLPA to harass him.
In addition, Porter claimed that he was told in September 2018 that his status as a licensed agent would expire since he had not signed a new NFL player. He appealed the decision, claiming that the NFLPA suspension was the cause. However, after emailing the NFLPA and getting no response, Porter alleged that the NFLPA told him to sign a form that would release the union from any claims regarding the suspension. He argued in his complaint that these were attempts by the NFLPA to clear themselves of wrongdoing and prevent him from pursuing legal claims.
Porter is now suing on counts of tortious interference with a contract and business relationship, in addition to negligence and breach of duty. As a result of the NFLPA’s alleged actions, Porter claimed that he lost current clients as well as the potential for future clients. Porter alleged that he has suffered at least $2.8 million in damages. We will continue to monitor the status of this litigation.