A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent. The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos. Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit.
NFL teams must decide whether to release or retain players by a league imposed deadline. Here, the Denver Broncos informed Dumervil and his (former) agent, Marty Magid, prior to the deadline that the team would release him unless the parties renegotiated the contract. This practice is not uncommon in the NFL. The parties timely agreed to the terms of a restructured deal worth $8 million a season. However, Dumervil’s agent reportedly failed to fax the signed contract back to the Broncos before the deadline and the Broncos released Dumervil. According to recent reports, Magid has already hired a high profile attorney as a prophylactic measure to represent him in any ensuing litigation.
This is clearly not the typical professional liability scenario but the cause and effect are not uncommon to all professionals. The agent’s mistakes exemplify those facing all professionals when engaged to complete transactions in tight timeframes. The margin for error is reduced if a professional is negotiating at the 11th hour. Furthermore, when transmitting critical documents – such as executed contracts, settlement materials and the like – all professionals should confirm receipt. If a document is not received, the professional, be it a lawyer or sports agent, faces malpractice for any resulting negative ramifications.