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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Melbourne lawyer Jackson Taylor has filed a lawsuit against the AFL, claiming its conduct was misleading and deceptive in the handling of the Essendon supplements saga. The legal papers name chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and CEO Gillon McLachlan in the suit. Allegations include the AFL misleading the public on the results of the joint investigation and their own responsibility regarding player health and safety. The suit names former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou as well. Added to the claim of deceptive practices, Taylor's allegations include Demetriou and McLachlan tipping off Essendon and telling the club they had to come forward to "self-report" after the Australian Crime Commission's report on corruption in sports.

Taylor claims in his 32 page "writ" (lawsuit) that Demetriou and McLachlan were being investigated by the ACC prior to Essendon's press conference in which the club requested the investigation. At the time, there was plenty of speculation that Demetriou had tipped off Essendon officials after attending the ACC hearings. Demetriou, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ACC, has always denied the allegations as have McLachlan and Fitzpatrick. Taylor's writ includes charges that the denials were deceptive or misleading.

There is also a potential accusation of fraud, with Taylor saying the AFL continued to sell AFL Silver Memberships (for preferential Finals tickets) to lure Essendon fans, even though the League had already planned to exclude the Bombers from the Final Eight. According to Taylor, withholding such information could be a breach of Australian consumer law. The AFL has denied the allegations, calling them "misguided" and an AFL spokesperson has called the suit a waste of time which could cost clubs and the League needlessly. One League official said "Taylor's action has the potential to damage the club that he professes to care about, and to waste football's time and money, the cost of which will ultimately be borne by the 18 clubs and our supporters."

Taylor is seeking injunctions against all three defendants and has set up a website on which he seeks donations for a "fighting fund" and legal help. It has not been reported exactly what the injunction is for or what Taylor hopes to accomplish with this suit.

Source: abc,net.au, afl.com.au

Article last changed on Sunday, September 06, 2015 - 10:03 AM EDT


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