Sarah M. Gragert
Sarah Gragert is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins. Ms. Gragert’s practice focuses on white collar criminal enforcement proceedings and complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on sports litigation. She represents corporate and individual clients in internal investigations and litigation brought in federal and state courts. Ms. Gragert has represented clients facing government investigations into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), export controls and trade sanctions, and a variety of other regulatory regimes.
She has also handled complex disputes in the sports, media and entertainment; private equity; consumer products; and insurance industries, among others. Most notably, Ms. Gragert served as a member of the NFL Players Association’s trial team in a high-profile case against the National Football League. The NFLPA alleged the NFL violated an antitrust settlement agreement by acquiring a US$4 billion-plus “lockout fund” from the primary source of revenues shared with the Players: TV rights fees from DIRECTV, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN. The court ruled in the Players’ favor, holding that the NFL breached the agreement by reopening the TV contracts “to benefit its exclusive interest at the expense of, and contrary to, the joint interests of the NFL and the Players” and did so with a “design” to “seek an unconscionable advantage” over the Players that was “inconsistent with good faith.” White v. NFL (TV Revenues), 766 F. Supp. 2d 941, 951-52 (D. Minn. 2011). Sports Illustrated declared it a “major victory.” American Lawyer and Sports Business Daily titled it a “big win.” The New York Times reported that the victory was “critical” to the NFLPA.
Ms. Gragert also successfully defended the NFLPA in class certification proceedings in a licensing dispute brought by former players. The court denied class certification, ruling that showing the alleged “agency relationships is not susceptible to common proof” and “[b]ecause of the need for individual analysis into each class member’s [alleged] agency relationship with Defendants, individual issues predominate over common ones.” Brown v. NFLPA, 281 F.R.D. 437, 444 (C.D. Cal. 2012).
Prior to entering law school, Ms. Gragert worked as a deputy press secretary in US Senator Debbie Stabenow's office, where she drafted the Senator's speeches, periodical columns and media advisories. She also has worked as a press assistant and radio producer for Senator Tom Daschle's Democratic Communications Committee.