Headline Sports Law

Scavo and O’Toole v. Brett Favre, New York Jets, and Lisa Ripi

Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole filed a Complaint against Brett Favre, the New York Jets, and Lisa Ripi with the New York County Clerk’s Office on January 3, 2011.  Two out of the three Defendants should be easily recognizable.  The third, Lisa Ripi, is the New York Jets’ massage therapist coordinator.  Part of her duties included setting players up with massage therapists.

The Plaintiffs were massage therapists who provided massages for New York Jets players.  At times, the New York Jets would make direct payments to the Plaintiffs for the services rendered.  The Plaintiffs claim that during Summer 2008, Brett Favre sent a text message to another massage therapist asking if she and “Chrissy” wanted to get together, as he was “all alone” at the time.  He allegedly followed up with another text saying, “Kinda lonely tonight I guess I have bad intentions.”  The Complaint goes on to say that Scavo’s husband called Favre and requested that he quit his behavior and apologize.  Thereafter, Scavo and O’Toole were not once asked to give massages to New York Jets players.

The Complaint further paints a picture where Defendant Ripi had complete authority over massage therapists working with the New York Jets.  A text message from Ripi on October 11, 2010 allegedly states, “everything at the Jets went through me and you know that.”  Other messages may serve as admissions that there were prior similar incidents that never reached the public eye.

Plaintiffs claim that Favre’s actions constituted sexual harassment.  Beyond the damage caused by sexual harassment, Plaintiffs state that in retaliation for Favre being told not to solicit or sexually harass the women, they were deprived of an opportunity to earn livings as massage therapists.  Potential damages include compensation for mental anguish and distress, damage to reputation, and harm to their future careers as massage therapists.  They are looking for actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.