How Lawyers Lie

First, read this post on ProFootballTalk concerning a claim made by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores and the response by the team’s lawyers.

The Dolphins have responded to a claim made by former head coach Brian Flores during an interview with Bryant Gumbel of Real Sports. In the interview Gumbel asked Flores if it was true “that you were asked to sign an NDA, a non-disparagement agreement” when the Dolphins fired him earlier this year. Flores said he was and left “a lot” of money on the table because it would have “silenced” him.

Flores said Dolphins owner Steve Ross presented him with the NDA and talked about it with him. The Dolphins called that “categorically false” in a statement released on Tuesday evening.

“This latest assertion by Brian Flores that Steve Ross mentioned an NDA to him is categorically false,” the statement said. “This just did not happen and we simply cannot understand why Brian continues this pattern of making unfounded statements that he knows are untrue. We are fully cooperating with the NFL investigation and look forward to all of the facts coming out which we are confident will prove that his claims are false and defamatory.”

Sounds convincing, right? Where is this guy coming from? The Dolphins simply cannot understand this pattern of unfounded, untrue statements! Of course, Florio of PFT is a lawyer, so unlike his readers – read the comments if you want to see the customary cluelessness of the average non-lawyer – he saw through the team’s statement immediately, as he next posted this:

Flores told Bryant Gumbel that the three-year head coach left a “lot” of money on the table by declining to sign a document that would have “silenced” him. The Dolphins issued a statement specifically denying that team owner Stephen Ross presented Flores with a non-disclosure agreement and spoke to Flores about it.

In response, the lawyers representing Flores posted the documents that Flores opted not to sign. The materials show that Flores specifically waived his buyout by not signing the documents that would have required him to forfeit any legal claims…. Thus, even if Ross wasn’t specifically involved in the communications regarding what Flores could and couldn’t say or do (oligarchy, after all, has its privileges), someone apparently was.

In other words, all the histrionic rhetoric about untrue and unfounded statements that are false and defamatory rely upon the team’s claim that it wasn’t Stephen Ross himself that offered him millions of dollars to sign an NDA, it was Stephen Ross’s representatives doing so on his behalf.

Keep this in mind any time you see a lawyer making a big deal about something being entirely and absolutely false. In most cases, the statement is 99 percent true, but there is some minor and irrelevant detail that isn’t correct. What is particularly dishonest is that they will a) use the detail as an excuse to deny the whole, then b) make an expanded statement that doesn’t refer to the errant detail at all and is completely false.

In the Miami case, the team lawyers actually came out and expanded “This latest assertion by Brian Flores that Steve Ross mentioned an NDA to him is categorically false” to “we did not ask Brian Flores to sign an NDA” even though the documentary evidence clearly proves that they did the latter.

Never forget that lawyers have absolutely no hesitation about lying to the media, the other party, and the judge in any and all circumstances. But they generally do so in a manner that the average individual is unlikely to easily see or understand.