Morgan et al. v. U.S. Soccer Federation Inc.

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The judge ruled in favor of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all equal pay claims in this Title VII case.

Retained by U.S. Soccer Federation Inc.

The judge ruled in favor of our client’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs, a class representing the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), brought a gender pay discrimination suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) alleging unequal pay. Defense counsel retained Cornerstone Research to support Carlyn Irwin of Cornerstone Research and Justin McCrary of Columbia Law School as expert witnesses.

The judge cited both Ms. Irwin and Professor McCrary’s expert reports in his order.

Plaintiffs claimed that the USWNT players were compensated at a lower rate of pay than the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) for substantially equal work. In particular, plaintiffs argued that the lower rate of pay was driven by more favorable terms in the men’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) relative to their own CBA.

In her analysis, Ms. Irwin found that the USWNT earned more than the USMNT during the class period, both overall and on a per-game basis. In addition, she showed that the highest paid USWNT players earned more than the highest paid USMNT players both overall and on a per-game basis.

Professor McCrary’s analysis showed that the women’s CBA is more favorable than the men’s on several important dimensions. For example, Professor McCrary showed that the women’s CBA includes salaries, while the men’s does not. For friendly games, the combination of a salary and bonus made the women’s CBA more valuable than the men’s CBA. In fact, Professor McCrary showed that the men’s team would have earned more under the women’s CBA during the class period. He also showed that differences in bonuses paid to USWNT and USMNT for winning the World Cup were driven by differences in prize money set by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The defendant, the USSF, does not determine the value of the prizes that FIFA pays to the men’s and women’s World Cup winners.

The judge ruled in favor of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all equal pay claims, citing both Ms. Irwin and Professor McCrary in his order.


For more information on this case, contact Bryan Ricchetti or Elaine Harwood.

Case Experts

  • Los Angeles

Carlyn Irwin

Senior Advisor

Justin McCrary

Paul J. Evanson Professor of Law,
Columbia Law School;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research

  • Chicago

Kavan Kucko

Senior Manager

  • Chicago

Bryan M. Ricchetti

Vice President

  • Los Angeles

Elaine M. Harwood

Senior Vice President

  • Chicago

Matt Poczatek

Principal