Thursday, April 28, 2011

Next Steps on NFL Labor Front (Feeling A Lot Like Law School)

You will be pleased to know that the NFL's labor law class is worth two credits.

So let's recap what's happened.

Last week, Judge Susan Nelson sided with the players and granted their request that the lockout be lifted and that the NFL re-open for business. Put another way, Judge Nelson granted the players' injunction.

The NFL obviously wasn't pleased with the outcome. So that same day, they requested that Judge Nelson stay her order that the lockout be lifted.

Seeking a stay just means that the NFL was asking the Judge to put her decision on hold while they ask the next court up, the Court of Appeal, to overturn her decision.

Agreed - not terribly polite.

However, to the dismay of the NFL, Judge Nelson said sorry the order stands - open your doors. Put another way, she denied the NFL's request to stay the injunction. If the NFL didn't comply, they could be found in contempt of court, which carries with it fines and possible imprisonment.

So what's next?

The NFL is now doing 2 things:

1) First they've gone to the Court of Appeal and asked the court to stay (or to put on hold) Judge Nelson's decision that the NFL must open its doors. That means the NFL is asking the Court to restore the lockout for now.

This should be heard within the next few days.

2) The NFL is also appealing Judge Nelson's ruling that the lockout is illegal because it violates antitrust laws. If the NFL can get the Court of Appeal to review the case on an expedited basis, we could have a decision in a few weeks. If it is concluded that this case does not warrant an expedited review, which is reserved for emergencies, then this case wouldn't be heard for 4 plus months. If history is any indicator, this case will receive an expedited review. Even if a stay is granted, the Court of Appeal could ultimately affirm Judge Nelson's ruling putting the NFL back in a tough position.

Up to this point, there haven't been any surprises on how things have unfolded. Further, as a result of recent victories, momentum is siding with the players. They won the television lockout insurance case involving the $4 billion dollars, they got their injunction and they got it to stick when the NFL was refused its request for the stay. So if I'm the players, I'm feeling pretty good. Remember if the lockout remains lifted, fans will have football this coming season.

So, for now, that's where we stand.

Make sure you get the NFL to certify those two credits when all this wraps up.

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