By Mike Fisher and Josh Clark
FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) – The judge’s surname is “Failla.”
An attorney’s surname is “Failla.”
The Judge is Katherine Polk Failla, who denied Ezekiel Elliott a preliminary injunction in the Southern District Court in New York on Monday, plowing the way for the Dallas Cowboys star’s six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy to begin.
The attorney is John E. Failla, a partner at the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP, which helped represent the NFL in the crafting of the aforementioned CBA.
There are only 2,096 people in the entire United States with the surname of “Failla.”
Oh, as we first reported on Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan, we know for certain that Katherine’s husband is named “John E.”
Is it a coincidence?
Is it collusion?
How many guys named “John E. Failla” are there?
Do the two Faillas know each other?
Our suspicion has been confirmed by a note from Pro Football Talk, confirming that Judge Failla is married to this exact “John E. Failla,” who is an attorney that works for the law firm with NFL ties. To those in Cowboys Nation, if not those in the legal profession, this is something between “cheating” and “the appearance of impropriety,” which is specifically noted as a guide in the United States Courts Code of Conduct for judges.
Attorney David Wishnew, a partner at prominent Dallas law firm Gruber Hail Johansen Shank LLP, tells us, “This wouldn’t be collusion, but possibly a conflict, and should have been disclosed. Whether it was a conflict serious enough for recusal would depend on his role — was he just a lawyer in that firm or was he directly involved in CBA drafting/negotiations?”
The answer: It seems Mr. Failla was not involved, at all in the same way, that Mrs. Failla was.
“Regardless,” adds Wishnew, “making that challenge, after the fact of the denial of the injuction, would be unlikely to alter the outcome.”
Our point isn’t to cast aspersions on the honesty of a Federal Judge. (Or, not much, anyway.) But one cannot help but wonder about the pillow-talk conversations of Mr. and Mrs. Failla, and whether it ever turns to a sport that is now part of both of their careers. And if you’re a Cowboys fan, you can’t help but want to avoid interactions with anybody with the name “Failla.”
All 2,096 of them.