6.09.2008

Sports and the Law: Chet Pleban and Kevin Slaten-Made for Each Other

As some of you may know, Kevin Slaten, the king of all St. Louis sports radio jerks has hired St. Louis "super lawyer" Chet Pleban to represent him. Pleban, in turn, has filed a wrongful termination suit on behalf of Slaten against KFNS in St. Louis County Circuit Court. At first, this seemed to be pretty standard legal fare, high profile person gets fired, person sues former employer, parties reach undisclosed settlement at some point in future, person appears on another local media outlet.

Instead, Slaten and Pleban have spun conspiracy theory stories about how Slaten was really fired due to an unknown person high up in the Cardinals organization putting pressure on KFNS to fire Slaten. Such stories bring up visions of Tony LaRussa smoking cigarettes endlessly in some office deep within Busch Stadium issuing orders, much like Chain Smoking Man, from the X Files. Until Slaten hired Pleban, I did not think it was possible for Slaten to be seen as any more of a douche bag.

In a legal tactic that is only befitting a person representing Slaten, who is sadly a fellow member of the Missouri Bar himself, Pleban recently announced that Slaten didn't sign just one contract, but TWO! The story is here. Evidently Slaten, and Pleban are now spinning the ridiculous story that Slaten signed two contracts, one with Big League Broadcasting and the other with KFNS, bringing his salary to an ungodly $320,000.00.

I could fill up the rest of this column with some fine legal analysis on whether there is a contract, what that involves, but I won't. My fast and dirty analysis is that Slaten, through his attorney Pleban are making a ridiculous claim. If Slaten signed a second contract in September, but wasn't fired until nearly six months later, didn't he notice that his paychecks were about half of what they can be? In other words, you are allegedly an attorney, and your employer is supposedly screwing you out of half of your salary, and you don't notice until your fancy pants attorney tells you after you were fired? Needless to say, his argument doesn't even pass the "stink test."

What we likely have here is a tactic by Slaten and Pleban to do one of two things, 1) bring more legal pressure on KFNS to reach a settlement with Pleban and Slaten, and make this whole law suit go away, or 2) if this matter ever goes to a jury trial, to start to taint the jury pool by spinning your side of the story. Of course, many parts of contract law involve legal determinations, and juries only decide factual issues, so it is unclear at this stage, if and what role a jury would play in this saga.

Until then, we can be treated to weekly nuggets like this story. Who knows, maybe Pleban will find Slaten's third contract.....

1 comment:

hazelwood's most wanted said...

with a name like chet pleban he'll have a career as a sleezy used-car salesman once his lawyering days are over.

his business card probably says "I'm not sure how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal. People know me. Chet Pleban, Attorney at Law."