WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Legal questions surround a lawsuit filed against the Washington Commanders after several allegations of a toxic workplace and sexual harassment.
In a Thursday press conference, teased a day prior as a “major announcement” in a press release to reporters, DC Attorney General Karl Racine argued the team, owner Dan Snyder, the NFL and League Commissioner Roger Goodell colluded over information surrounding the investigation into the misconduct allegations.
Racine argues consumers in the district were negatively impacted by the alleged backdoor conversations, and consumer protection laws broadly give his office grounds to file a lawsuit.
An initial response to the lawsuit from the team’s legal team did not indicate if they will argue that the suit does not have merit because the defendants are not based in the district. However, counsel for the Commanders signaled they would fight the lawsuit in court.
It is unknown if a judge has agreed to take up the case as of Thursday night.
Racine’s office asks the court for civil penalties against the defendants, as well as restitution and that the lawsuit head to a jury trial.
The NFL responded in-part, “we reject the legally unsound and factually baseless allegations made today by the D.C. Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell and will vigorously defend against those claims,” according to a statement from the league’s Vice President for Communications Brian McCarthy.
Dionna Maria Lewis, an attorney based in the district, told DC News Now the news of the lawsuit, alone, could prompt people outside the Commanders organization to come forward with their own allegations of workplace misconduct in the era of ‘Me Too’ movement.
“It’s going to be settled or it’s going to be a hard fight through the court system, assuming this could get past jurisdictional issues,” Lewis said, adding, “I think it’s a big deal because it puts DC, the Commanders, the NFL league, in general, in the limelight.”
Allegations detailed in the lawsuit are similar to those brought up amid a Congressional investigation by a US House oversight committee.
“Literally a perfect storm of issues that can blow up in the face of Dan Snyder,” Lewis said.