Honigman Helps Safeguard Spot on 2012 U.S. Paralympics Team for Long Jump World-Record Holder

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Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP helped safeguard Elexis “Lex” Gillette’s spot as one of 35 male athletes in track and field to compete in the 2012 Paralympics.

I am very appreciative of Honigman and Mr. Evans’ quick assistance in making sure that I represent the U.S.A. in the 2012 Paralympics. Because of their dedication to my cause, I will be able to pursue my dream of winning a gold medal for my country.

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP helped safeguard Elexis “Lex” Gillette’s spot as one of 35 male athletes in track and field to compete in the 2012 Paralympics in London beginning today, August 29. Gillette’s selection as an athlete representing the United States was challenged by another world-class athlete who vied for one of the coveted positions, but was not chosen. Gillette received notice of the arbitration on Thursday, August 2 and the matter was litigated in a six-hour arbitration on Saturday, August 4 at which Honigman Partner Cameron J. Evans represented Gillette.

The Paralympics, a worldwide sports competition for athletes with disabilities, begins on August 29 and ends on September 9 in London, following the conclusion of the Olympics. The U.S. Paralympics track and field team is comprised of 54 members, 35 men and 19 women. Gillette, who has been blind since he was eight years old, broke the world record in the long jump for totally blind athletes in 2011. He also earned a silver medal at the Athens, Greece and at the Beijing, China, Paralympics; he holds eight American records; and has earned 12 national championships.

“I am very appreciative of Honigman and Mr. Evans’ quick assistance in making sure that I represent the U.S.A. in the 2012 London Paralympics,” said Lex Gillette. “Because of their dedication to my cause, I will be able to pursue my dream of winning a gold medal for my country.”

Gillette was chosen to compete in the London Paralympics based on his performance records in 2011 and 2012, as well as holding the world-long jump record, rather than on performance in the qualifying competition, which he was unable to attend due to an injury. Of the 35 male athletes competing, 32 were chosen based on their point scores in the qualifying competition and three were chosen by the U.S. Paralympic Committee using their discretionary authority outlined in the U.S. Paralympics Selection Procedures. Honigman’s position on behalf of Gillette was that the Paralympics Committee had the ability to place anyone it deemed the best competitor in its discretionary spots and that Gillette’s record supported that decision.

“When we learned about the challenge to Mr. Gillette’s placement on the U.S. Paralympic Team, Honigman made a quick decision to take this case on as a ‘pro bono’ matter and we are very pleased with the result for Mr. Gillette. We wish him well in going for the gold in London,” said Cameron J. Evans, a Partner at Honigman, a member of its Labor and Employment Department and a sports law practitioner currently representing the National Hockey League (NHL) in connection with its 2013 Winter Classic. The 2013 Classic is an outdoor regular season NHL game that will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

Gillette has qualified to participate in four Paralympic events: the F11 long jump, the 100m, 200m and the triple jump. He also will compete in the 4 x 100m relay. For more information about Lex Gillette, who grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and trains in Chula Vista, California, visit http://www.lexgillette.com. For more information about the U.S. Paralympics Team visit http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics.

About Honigman
Honigman is a leading business law firm based in Michigan with an international practice. Headquartered in Detroit with offices in Lansing, Oakland County, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, the firm has attorneys practicing in more than 50 different areas of concentration. Honigman’s highly credentialed attorneys and staff, along with its customer-service focus, provide clients in a wide variety of industries timely and cost-effective counsel. For more information about Honigman visit http://www.honigman.com.

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Susan Sherbow
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
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