Robert Quinn was selected #14 overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2011 NFL Draft. Quinn was represented by Carl Carey, Jr. of Champion Pro Consulting Group, Inc. months prior to being selected by the Rams. Carey, Jr. paid for for many of Quinn’s expenses leading up to the NFL Draft, including the player’s housing, transportation, and NFL Combine training, and provided loans to Quinn based on his requests.
Quinn terminated his professional relationship with Carey, Jr. mere days prior to the conclusion of the NFL lockout. Drafted players had not been able to negotiate and sign contracts with the teams that drafted them up until the end of the lockout.
On July 25, 2011, Carl Carey, Jr. and his company, Champion Pro Consulting filed a Complaint against former University of North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, Quinn’s Business Manager, Boca Raton, Florida-based Impact Sports Football, LLC, and two of Impact Sports’ agents (Mitch Frankel and Tony Fleming). Carey, Jr. wanted to make sure that the first $300,000 Quinn received from his contract with the St. Louis Rams was paid immediately to Carey, Jr., and aimed to prevent Impact Sports from negotiating Quinn’s contract.
The Complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. On November 21, 2011, Carey, Jr. and Champion Pro Consulting Group filed a notice to voluntary dismiss their lawsuit without prejudice to refile, which the Court granted.
All was quiet until January 9, 2012, when Carey, Jr. and Champion Pro Consulting Group filed another lawsuit against the same named defendants (embedded at the bottom of this post), but this time filed the action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The Plaintiffs also decided to throw in a new defendant – former UNC and current New York Giants defensive end, Marvin Austin (who is represented by Impact Sports). The Plaintiffs were not able to prohibit Impact Sports from negotiating Quinn’s rookie contract (for $9.4 million), but still want to be paid by Quinn for the expenses paid on Quinn’s behalf leading up to Quinn signing his professional contract with the St. Louis Rams, want a 3% commission on Quinn’s rookie deal, and wish to be compensated by the other named Defendants based on the Counts alleged.
Why don’t we see more of these types of sports agent cases brought in court? Under Section 5 of the NFLPA Regulations Governing Contract Advisors, the NFLPA’s arbitration procedure is the exclusive method for resolving any and all disputes that arise from:
A dispute between two or more Contract Advisors with respect to whether or not a Contract Advisor interfered with the contractual relationship of a Contract Advisor and player in violation of Section 3(B)(21). If a Contract Advisor proves such a violation of Section 3(B)(21), then the Arbitrator shall award reasonable damages proven and/or any money award which he/she deems equitable.
However, the NFLPA decertified in early March 2011 in an effort to file an antitrust action (amongst other stated reasons) against the NFL after the NFL locked out its players. The Plaintiffs believe that Section 5 of the NFLPA Regulations Governing Contract Advisors does not apply to their case, since they say that the Defendants committed their illegal actions while the NFLPA was still decertified and the regulations were not in effect.
The premise of Carey, Jr.’s Complaint is that Robert Quinn’s Business Manager (and girlfriend?), Christina White, led Quinn to believe that Impact Sports could do a better job than Carey, Jr. with regards to marketing Quinn and finding endorsement opportunities during the lockout. Carey, Jr. also claims that White, Frankel, and/or Fleming told Quinn that he should have been selected higher than #14 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, and that Frankel and Fleming would pay Quinn $50,000 along with pay Carey, Jr. and money Quinn owed to him. Further, the Plaintiffs allege that Marvin Austin was paid by Impact Sports in return for recruiting players, including Quinn, who were represented by rival agents.
There are a total of 7 Counts in the new Complaint, including tortious interference with contract, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, beach of contract, unfair methods of competition and slander per se.
A couple of final notes of interest:
- Paragraph 21 of the Complaint states that Carey, Jr. and Quinn had contact via telephone. But didn’t the NFLPA say that nobody could talk to Quinn until December, like the regular Junior Rule?
- Paragraph 69 states that Fleming was/is planning to start an agency that caters to the partying lifestyle. I have not heard of the supposed new entity, but it is something to keep an eye on.
- Paragraph 76 – “Before, 2011, it was a highly unusual practice for players to terminate their player-agent representative after the draft and immediately prior to negotiations with an NFL team.” Really?