NFL Seeks To Be Dismissed As Cumulus' Co-Defendant In Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders Lawsuit
April 29, 2015 at 3:50 AM (PT)
The NFL is attempting to get itself dismissed as a defendant in the lawsuit by former cheerleaders for the BUFFALO BILLS over back wages.
The league is a co-defendant with CUMULUS RADIO CO., the predecessor of which, CITADEL BROADCASTING, had contracts to operate the BUFFALO JILLS cheerleading squad and owns the BILLS' flagship, Classic Rock WGRF (97 ROCK)/BUFFALO; former CITADEL employee STEPHANIE E. MATECZUN, allegedly in charge of operating the JILLS for the company, is also a co-defendant, and the NFL and later JILLS manager STEJON PRODUCTIONS were added as co-defendants in JANUARY.
The BUFFALO NEWS reports that the NFL is contending that the need for league approval of the contracts does not mean that the league was enriched by the contracts, and therefore should not qualify the league as a defendant; it contends that league approval was only needed for the broadcasting provisions of the contracts. The contracts, the 2007 and 2009 radio deals between CITADEL and the BILLS, are stamped with NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL's signature and the word "APPROVED."
Attorneys for CAITLIN FERRARI, the named plaintiff, and other JILLS say that the contracts would not have been valid without GOODELL's signature, and that the league approved of the cheerleaders' misclassification.
The suit alleges that cheerleaders were required to sign independent contractor deals agreeing not to be paid, although an NLRP ruling in 1995 established that JILLS members were employees and not contractors.
NEW YORK STATE Supreme Court Justice TIMOTHY J. DRURY will rule on the motion by the NFL to dismiss itself as a defendant; he said he would issue a ruling "as soon as possible."