A Mayer Brown appellate team obtained a landmark settlement for the players on the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) in their equal-pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation (USSF).
This week, the parties agreed to settle for $24 million in backpay damages and a guarantee of equal pay going forward for all games, including for the World Cup. This is the first commitment from a major US sports federation to pay female and male athletes equally.
The litigation began in 2019, when the players sued the USSF to obtain equal pay with the players on the US Men’s National Team. After losing summary judgment on the equal-pay claims, the players hired Mayer Brown to take the lead on the appeal. The Mayer Brown team turned the case around by filing persuasive appellate briefs and securing strong amicus support from the US government, the US Men’s National Team and many others.
According to DC-based partner Nicole Saharsky, who led the Mayer Brown team, “This settlement is a monumental victory for the USWNT players and for women everywhere. The players worked so hard to get to this day. We are honored to have been able to help them in their fight for equal pay.“
The Mayer Brown team also included partners Marcia Goodman and Michael Scodro (both Chicago) and associates Carmen Longoria-Green and Minh Nguyen-Dang (both DC). Mayer Brown was joined in this effort by Winston & Strawn, which served as class counsel for the players, and The Levinson Group, which coordinated all media for the players related to the case.
The settlement was extensively covered by the media, including:
U.S. Soccer and Women’s Players Agree to Settle Equal Pay Lawsuit, The New York Times
Opinion: The U.S. women’s soccer team’s settlement is a huge victory on pay equality, The Washington Post
USWNT players and U.S. Soccer settle equal pay dispute, Reuters
'Leaving a Terrific Legacy': USWNT, U.S. Soccer Federation Settle Equal Pay Lawsuit for $24M, Law.com
US Soccer To Pay $24M To End Women's Team Equal Pay Suit, Law360
U.S. Women’s Soccer Class Action Reaches $24M Settlement Over Equal Pay, Top Class Actions
USWNT, U.S. Soccer Federation settle equal pay lawsuit for $24 million, ESPN
USWNT reaches $24 million settlement with U.S. Soccer over equal pay lawsuit, Yahoo! Sports