Posted April 1, 2019 with Tags Cort Sylvester, legal ethics
Snowballs and Iceballs: Crossing the Line in Settlement Negotiations
Children of northern climes remember the joys of a snowball fight. We also remember the bully who ruined the fun by packing iceballs. (Those from more temperate zones might consider the line between brushback pitches and beanballs.) What is true in projectile sports is also true in law—there is a boundary between being aggressive and breaking the (express or implied) rules. Recent news of criminal charges against a prominent attorney has focused attention on this boundary in the context of settlement negotiations. Prosecutors allege that Michael Avenatti demanded that Nike not only pay his client, but also hire Avenatti himself to conduct a $15 to $25 million internal investigation. Otherwise, he threatened to take billions of dollars off the company’s market capitalization by going public with his client’s allegations immediately before an earnings call and the NCAA basketball tournament.