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NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Old 05-23-2012, 02:46 PM   #31
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

Okay - I think it comes down to a balancing of two legal concepts: (1) settlements are settlements; versus (2) bad faith can't triumph.

The procedural background: In the early 90's Reggie White and the NFLPA sue the NFL and the 32 clubs (the "Defendants") in order to become a free agent. Long story short, in 1993, the Defendants settle the suit and, as part of that settlement agreement, agrees to institute a free agency system through negotiations with the NFLPA. As a result, each CBA agreement is incorporated into the terms of the 1993 Settlement and is considered an amendment of that Settlement.

Each Sides Arguments: The NFLPA is now asserting that the owners actions in 2010 were collusive and constituted a breach of the 1993 Settlement as it was amended by the 2006 CBA. As such, they are asking the Court that presided over the 1993 settlement to reopen the case for the specific purpose of determining awarding damages for the alleged breach.

Based on the NFL's attorney's statements, the NFL will counter that the 1993 Settlement was amended again in 2011 and, as part of that amendment and as a precondition for it, the NFLPA specifically waived any claims for collusion - whether known or unknown to the NFLPA. As such, even if collusion occurred in breach of the 2006 Amendment, the NFLPA waived their rights to sue for such breaches in the 2011 Amendment.

My Off The Cuff, Free Of Charge To Fellow Warpathers Analysis: As I said at the beginning, two legal concepts appear to be in conflict. On one hand you have the principle that "settlement are meant to settle" versus the age old "liars never prosper".

The phrase "forego all claims known or unknown" is common in settlements and is meant to prohibit folks from coming back and nitpicking a settlement. People enter into settlements in order to resolve their differences and finally put an end to matters. One of the benefits of a settlement is that it is just what its name implies - a settlement so that parties can move on and not worry about old issues being constantly trotted out over and over again. Accordingly, courts tend to put the burden on those trying to reopen settlements and, usually, saying "gosh jeepers, I didnt realize all of the results" is not justification for reopening an agreed upon settlement. If you didn't do your due diligence or didn't fully realize the ramifications of your actions, well, too bad, so sad for you - should've thunk of that before signing your John Hancock.

ON THE OTHER HAND - and believe it or not - the law does not like liars. Operating in bad faith and working to deprive a party of facts and knowledge generally has ramifications. Settlements are contract negotions and, implicit in all such negotions, is the duty of good faith. Contracts entered into in bad faith will not be enforceable by the party exercising bad faith.

IN THIS CASE - the question to me seems to be, when settling collusion claims shouldn't you expect that the alleged collusion involved secrecy and, as such, by giving up your rights to allege collusion aren't you giving up your right to assert that the collusive parties acted secretly? Or is the underlying lie in this case beyond the pale of reasonable expectations and, as such, something the NFLPA could not be deemed to reasonably have waived.

I really don't know how the court will read the waiver - it is dependent on the governing law and the specific facts. I have no doubt that is where the lawyers who make the big bucks will be generating their fees.

Disclaimer: All of the above is stream of conscience written analysis based on reading the complaint, no legal research, working only from memory, about 10 minutes of analytical thought and minimalist editing.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:36 PM   #32
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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This. Part of the arbitration decision indicated that the Cowboys and Skins were seeking document discovery concerning the alleged collusion. I am sure the NFLPA was also interested in those types of documents and wanted to see what would come out in the arbitration.
So just throwing it out there: the Arbitrator either dismissed because he agreed with the NFL/Goodell/Mara in that it was not his venue to hear the appeal.... or he dismissed based off the idea that both the NFL and NFLPA have an agreement and the two teams are crap out of luck in their appeal.

Now that the NFLPA has filed a suit does it not now show they did not agree to everything the NFL is saying was agreed to and could not the Arbitrator now say "his ruling was based off the idea both the NFL and NFLPA were in agreement" and reopen the case? Perhaps not though rulings are usually final, but this is interesting.

Now I wonder how much flack DSmith got from the players when they learned he supposedly agreed with the NFL. Again probably reading too much into it cause they could have voted him out right after he made the agreement and they didn't.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:42 PM   #33
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

Joe,

You think the NFLPA would say they were blackmailed or forced to take the deal? Now that they have positive proof through Mara's own statements that now they believe there was collusion and this is why the filing?

More then likely the NFLPA waited to see what new info would get produced but I still wonder if the Skins and or Boys will be the major witness in the case and if the two owners possibly agreed to be the witnesses.... but make it seem like they are hostile witnesses so the rest of the league believes they are being run through the mud also.

I'm telling you DS/JJ gave up too easily. Yesterday I was pissed and only figured they would be pissed also. They were too relaxed and calm with their "we are going to take are punishement" statement. They must have knew something like this was about to be sprung.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:43 PM   #34
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

The arbitrator very clearly said that the case was dismissed b/c the NFL and NFLPA agreed to the reallocation of salary cap. To reopen the arbitration case, I would imagine the NFLPA would have to repudate their ratification of the March Modification. Even if that is possible, I don't see them taking that step - mainly b/c the NFL would then set each team's cap lower (except the skins and cowboys) and a lot of players would be cut or have to renegotiate.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:50 PM   #35
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

I just read an article that said they(nflpa) may claim they agreed to it, because ultimately it proved collusion occurred.

On a sidenote, I think the players are really thinking they didn't get such a good deal now.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:58 PM   #36
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Joe, You think the NFLPA would say they were blackmailed or forced to take the deal? Now that they have positive proof through Mara's own statements that now they believe there was collusion and this is why the filing?
That is exactly what they are saying:

Quote:
28. Shortly before March 12, 2012, the NFL forced the NFLPA to agree (i) to material, NFL-determined reductions in the Redskins’ and Cowboys’ salary cap room for the 2012-2013 seasons, and (ii) to spread the corresponding amounts among all other Clubs, except for the Raiders and the Saints, as the take-it-or-leave-it “price” for the NFL agreeing to the NFLPA’s request to defer certain player benefit costs to later years when there would be increased television revenues to cover those costs. At the time, on March 11, 2012, the NFLPA and the players had no information or knowledge that the NFL was seeking this redistribution of salary cap room as a means of (i) penalizing the Redskins and Cowboys, and to a lesser degree the Raiders and Saints (via denied redistribution), for not fully abiding by the Collusive Agreement in 2010 and (ii) rewarding the other 28 conspiring Clubs for adhering to the Collusive Agreement in 2010. It was only after the NFL forced the NFLPA into this March 11, 2012 agreement that the NFL’s and the Owners’ collusive acts regarding the secret salary cap during 2010 finally came to light.
http://www.realredskins.com/files/nflpa-suit.pdf

Read the complaint folks. Lots of good stuff in it.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #37
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Originally Posted by SBXVII View Post
I think it's going to get interesting. Not only do the owners (to include the Skins) now have to worry about this claim but I'd imagine their possibly losing their exemption as well.


I wonder if Hoop has any incite he'd like to add to this new developement?
I'll try not to incite any riots.

I read the claim, and it seems pretty silly to me. They're quoting Mike Florio and Dan Graziano as proof that the NFL colluded, for goodness' sake. That's worth discussion on a message board, but to sue for $1B with that as your proof? Really?

Would be more interesting if they provided some proof, or even hinted as to what the proof might be that the "secret number" was $123m.

Also think it's laughable that they're arguing that they agreed to the salary cap redistribution on March 11, but were SHOCKED to learn on March 12 that it was designed to punish 4 teams for not sticking to the secret agreement.

They signed off on the penalties on March 11, without knowing what the penalties were for? Really?

Then they only realised what was going on when they read ESPN.com and Profootballtalk.com on March 12? Really?

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the chief value in this complaint is PR. I'm guessing DeMaurice Smith is tired of hearing about how he gave in to the League by agreeing to the Skins / Cowboys cap re-allocations, and he's tired of the League making him look silly in the bounty penalty discussion, and is trying to show his constituency that he's standing up for them.

Unless they have some proof not laid out in the complaint, I don't see how this has any chance of winning. I'm guessing it's a big hurdle just to show they have the ability to sue here.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:52 PM   #38
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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I dont think the Skins/Cowboys likely were in talks with the PA, as they are still the enemy really. I think it's probably more closely tied to the PA being prepared to file this the moment the arbitrator rendered judgement. You hold off in filing to possibly gather more ammunition for the filing. The arbitrators decision decided that they would have to run with what they had already. Basically public statements.
I think this is on the money. I think the NFLPA decide they were going to sue, and were waiting to see if they got any juicy evidence out of the arbitration hearing. One of the key elements of the arbitration was that the Skins and Cowboys were seeking discovery on certain documents - that the NFLPA would then be able to receive.

I believe the Skins and Cowboys were using that potential discovery as a threat to get the League to settle on reduced penalties - if the arbitration claim wasn't dismissed.

The NFLPA was hoping to get new information, and waited to file this suit until it was clear they weren't getting anything new.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:02 PM   #39
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Uggg...what a bunch of donkey idiots the owners are. Unless they get off on the language of the CBA waiving rights on these claims they're likely going to get their ass handed to them.

Jones and Snyder then are going to have to pay on both ends...for not colluding...and for their ass-hat partners actually colluding. Ain't that rich!

How in the world these guys thought they could do this, strike that...

How in the world these guys thought they could publicly punish two teams for this and that it wasn't openly admitting collusion is seriously baffling. I have to think their lawyers must not have been seriously consulted. I can't even think that Goodell thought this was a good idea. It justs reeks of a couple owners, dumb ones at that, deciding to seek revenge against other owners and openly poking the NFPLA in the eye with a stick in doing so. Epic stupidity.
Agree with part of this - completely stupid to strongarm the NFLPA into modifying the salary cap to punish two teams. Best case, they waste political capital that would be better used somewhere else. Worst case, it devolves into this.

My opinion is that DeMaurice Smith got clowned one too many times and is now NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. Would have been better to make him look good every once in a while and keep him in the League's pocket.

As for whether this was Goodell's idea, I suspect he didn't think this was a good idea but was forced to take this line by the owners. I think that's why Mara was out front and center on this instead of Goodell (untill Mara got really stupid with his wording.)

As for the collusion, they may or may not have been (probably were, imo) - but I still haven't seen any evidence that has any chance of holding up in court.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:08 PM   #40
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Okay - I think it comes down to a balancing of two legal concepts: (1) settlements are settlements; versus (2) bad faith can't triumph.

The procedural background: In the early 90's Reggie White and the NFLPA sue the NFL and the 32 clubs (the "Defendants") in order to become a free agent. Long story short, in 1993, the Defendants settle the suit and, as part of that settlement agreement, agrees to institute a free agency system through negotiations with the NFLPA. As a result, each CBA agreement is incorporated into the terms of the 1993 Settlement and is considered an amendment of that Settlement.

Each Sides Arguments: The NFLPA is now asserting that the owners actions in 2010 were collusive and constituted a breach of the 1993 Settlement as it was amended by the 2006 CBA. As such, they are asking the Court that presided over the 1993 settlement to reopen the case for the specific purpose of determining awarding damages for the alleged breach.

Based on the NFL's attorney's statements, the NFL will counter that the 1993 Settlement was amended again in 2011 and, as part of that amendment and as a precondition for it, the NFLPA specifically waived any claims for collusion - whether known or unknown to the NFLPA. As such, even if collusion occurred in breach of the 2006 Amendment, the NFLPA waived their rights to sue for such breaches in the 2011 Amendment.

My Off The Cuff, Free Of Charge To Fellow Warpathers Analysis: As I said at the beginning, two legal concepts appear to be in conflict. On one hand you have the principle that "settlement are meant to settle" versus the age old "liars never prosper".

The phrase "forego all claims known or unknown" is common in settlements and is meant to prohibit folks from coming back and nitpicking a settlement. People enter into settlements in order to resolve their differences and finally put an end to matters. One of the benefits of a settlement is that it is just what its name implies - a settlement so that parties can move on and not worry about old issues being constantly trotted out over and over again. Accordingly, courts tend to put the burden on those trying to reopen settlements and, usually, saying "gosh jeepers, I didnt realize all of the results" is not justification for reopening an agreed upon settlement. If you didn't do your due diligence or didn't fully realize the ramifications of your actions, well, too bad, so sad for you - should've thunk of that before signing your John Hancock.

ON THE OTHER HAND - and believe it or not - the law does not like liars. Operating in bad faith and working to deprive a party of facts and knowledge generally has ramifications. Settlements are contract negotions and, implicit in all such negotions, is the duty of good faith. Contracts entered into in bad faith will not be enforceable by the party exercising bad faith.

IN THIS CASE - the question to me seems to be, when settling collusion claims shouldn't you expect that the alleged collusion involved secrecy and, as such, by giving up your rights to allege collusion aren't you giving up your right to assert that the collusive parties acted secretly? Or is the underlying lie in this case beyond the pale of reasonable expectations and, as such, something the NFLPA could not be deemed to reasonably have waived.

I really don't know how the court will read the waiver - it is dependent on the governing law and the specific facts. I have no doubt that is where the lawyers who make the big bucks will be generating their fees.

Disclaimer: All of the above is stream of conscience written analysis based on reading the complaint, no legal research, working only from memory, about 10 minutes of analytical thought and minimalist editing.
Thanks for this - interesting reading. That seems to be the first hurdle. The second is whether they have any reasonable proof to show there was a secret number of $123m. The third is whether blog posts after the fact constitute valid evidence of an illegal conspiracy.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:14 PM   #41
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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I'll try not to incite any riots.

I read the claim, and it seems pretty silly to me. They're quoting Mike Florio and Dan Graziano as proof that the NFL colluded, for goodness' sake. That's worth discussion on a message board, but to sue for $1B with that as your proof? Really?

Would be more interesting if they provided some proof, or even hinted as to what the proof might be that the "secret number" was $123m.

Also think it's laughable that they're arguing that they agreed to the salary cap redistribution on March 11, but were SHOCKED to learn on March 12 that it was designed to punish 4 teams for not sticking to the secret agreement.

They signed off on the penalties on March 11, without knowing what the penalties were for? Really?

Then they only realised what was going on when they read ESPN.com and Profootballtalk.com on March 12? Really?

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the chief value in this complaint is PR. I'm guessing DeMaurice Smith is tired of hearing about how he gave in to the League by agreeing to the Skins / Cowboys cap re-allocations, and he's tired of the League making him look silly in the bounty penalty discussion, and is trying to show his constituency that he's standing up for them.

Unless they have some proof not laid out in the complaint, I don't see how this has any chance of winning. I'm guessing it's a big hurdle just to show they have the ability to sue here.
In your complaint, you only need to allege facts - which if true - prove your case. In a considering a Motion to Dismiss, the judge must assume the facts alleged as true. If the facts as alleged are legally sufficient to constitute a breach of the 1993 Settlement Agreement - then the NFL's motion to dismiss will be denied and the NFLPA can proceed to the discovery phase and obtain the NFL's documents, depose all the owners, etc., etc. And of course, there is always Mara's statement which seems to me primae facie proof of collusion.

While I agree the NFLPA's assertion that they had no idea the reallocation was intended to punish teams for not colluding sounds a bit like Captain Renault's declaration that he was "shocked to find gambling is going on here!!". For the purposes of preventing the NFLPA from getting discovery, however, it is assumed to be true.

To me, unless the NFL wins its waiver argument, the NFLPA is going have a lot of fun airing out the owners dirty laundry. At the same time, the waiver argument is not just pissing in the wind.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:29 PM   #42
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Thanks for this - interesting reading. That seems to be the first hurdle. The second is whether they have any reasonable proof to show there was a secret number of $123m. The third is whether blog posts after the fact constitute valid evidence of an illegal conspiracy.
If the NFLPA gets past this first hurdle, they get to dig for the necessary proof. At this stage, the players do not need to prove the specific number. Also, despite the additional fluff from the bloggers, the quotes from Mara, Goodell and McCaskey show an agreement of some type existed during the uncapped year and that it was intended to limit player contracts in some fashion.

Again, unless the waiver is applicable, the NFLPA is going to get ask Mr. Mara all about the "one-year loop hole" and ask Mr. Goodell to fully explain what rules he was talking about when he said “[T]he rules were articulated. . . . [T]he rules were quite clear.”

I, for one, hope the NFL loses the waiver argument. I would love to be a fly on the wall for Mr. Mara's deposition.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:55 PM   #43
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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If the NFLPA gets past this first hurdle, they get to dig for the necessary proof. At this stage, the players do not need to prove the specific number. Also, despite the additional fluff from the bloggers, the quotes from Mara, Goodell and McCaskey show an agreement of some type existed during the uncapped year and that it was intended to limit player contracts in some fashion.

Again, unless the waiver is applicable, the NFLPA is going to get ask Mr. Mara all about the "one-year loop hole" and ask Mr. Goodell to fully explain what rules he was talking about when he said “[T]he rules were articulated. . . . [T]he rules were quite clear.”

I, for one, hope the NFL loses the waiver argument. I would love to be a fly on the wall for Mr. Mara's deposition.
If an agreement is illegal (as would be the case with collusion) wouldn't any agreement meant to prevent the NFLPA from suing be irrelevant?

For example in this case:
Quote:
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded to the players' claims with a comment: "The filing of these claims is prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement and separately by an agreement signed by the players' attorneys last August.
IE would the clause in the CBA preventing the NFLPA from filing suit be irrelevant in the case of the NFL Owners breaking the law as it's my limited understanding that the law is above any such clause
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #44
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

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Originally Posted by HoopheadVII View Post
I'll try not to incite any riots.

I read the claim, and it seems pretty silly to me. They're quoting Mike Florio and Dan Graziano as proof that the NFL colluded, for goodness' sake. That's worth discussion on a message board, but to sue for $1B with that as your proof? Really?

Would be more interesting if they provided some proof, or even hinted as to what the proof might be that the "secret number" was $123m.

Also think it's laughable that they're arguing that they agreed to the salary cap redistribution on March 11, but were SHOCKED to learn on March 12 that it was designed to punish 4 teams for not sticking to the secret agreement.

They signed off on the penalties on March 11, without knowing what the penalties were for? Really?

Then they only realised what was going on when they read ESPN.com and Profootballtalk.com on March 12? Really?

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the chief value in this complaint is PR. I'm guessing DeMaurice Smith is tired of hearing about how he gave in to the League by agreeing to the Skins / Cowboys cap re-allocations, and he's tired of the League making him look silly in the bounty penalty discussion, and is trying to show his constituency that he's standing up for them.

Unless they have some proof not laid out in the complaint, I don't see how this has any chance of winning. I'm guessing it's a big hurdle just to show they have the ability to sue here.
#1- any good lawyer knows you don't give up all your evidence up front.

#2- anyone reviewing this case can see the NFLPA really didn't have a choice. In other words the choice was not made with out duress. The NFLPA was going to get screwed either way.

#3- I think almost all of us could guess the NFL was colluding but it was not admitted to by the NFL until after the meeting with the NFLPA and the two teams were punished.

I think now that the NFLPA has evidence of collusion and the fact they were forced to agree to what the NFL wanted to do should entitle them to have it brought before a judge to be heard. Honestly I think the NFLPA might win this. Possibly to the detriment to all the owners but again I doubt it gets that far. I foresee some form of settlement between the NFL and NFLPA. But I have been wrong before. Would it make the whole 2011 CBA null and void forcing both sides to start over again? This would give the NFLPA a huge advantage in negotiations.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:03 PM   #45
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Re: NFLPA Files Collusion Lawsuit Against NFL, Owners

I love this....

Quote:
The agreement reads that the "parties stipulate to the dismissal with prejudice of all claims, known and unknown, whether pending or not" including "asserted collusion with respect to the 2010 league year," and was signed by Kessler. Kessler said on the NFLPA's conference call on Wednesday that a Minnesota court rejected the stipulation.

On Aug. 11, 2011, Judge David Doty "ordered that all claims pending regarding the stipulation and settlement agreement are dismissed. All other outstanding motions are dismissed," according to a court order. Kessler said Doty's specification on "pending" cases left the door open for cases that were not pending, such as the current collusion case
Who knows the judge might have helped them in this case. lol.
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