The Jills lawsuit filed over 3 years ago has had little news to report. The complicated case with 4 separate defendants has remained bogged down in the courts and even the plaintiffs have been left with few updates. This week though, we got some updates. State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour ruled that the contracts that the ladies on the Jills signed when joining the squad were unenforceable and that the plaintiffs were non-exempt employees mis-classified as independent contractors. This correlates with what one of the lawyers in the case told me 3 years ago, that the contracts were illegal so the stance that the plaintiffs had no grounds to file a suit was totally off-base.
I'm no legal expert so I can't begin to explain everything this means but one thing we can be assured of is that this decision is a step forward towards resolving the lawsuit. Until the suit is settled, it could be tough to get the Jills re-instated. Even when the suit is resolved, there are still hurdles to get over but every step counts.
The other news is less positive. Last November, the case was in court and many of those involved gave their depositions that were finally released on Wednesday. One, in particular, was rather jaw-dropping. Russ Brandon, the President of the Buffalo Bills said “If I spent one collective hour in 20 years thinking about the Buffalo Jills, that would be about 58 minutes more than I have.” He told one of the attorneys that he couldn't have cared less that the Jills existed. He did follow that up by saying he didn't mean to be disrespectful but in truth, his very wording was extremely insulting to the Jills and their supporters.
It's not surprising when a casual fan doesn't get just what pro cheerleaders add to an organization as it's not always obvious to a detached observer. Before I started working closely with the Jills in 2005, I wasn't aware of all they did. Russ Brandon, however, has been with the Bills since 1997, a high-ranking executive in 2006, and the President since 2013. If he's truly ignorant to what the Jills brought to the team, then he's not qualified to hold a high-ranking position with the team. If he's not truly that ignorant, then he should be ashamed of himself