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NFL, Williamses squabble over timing of StarCaps trial

I hoped to mention before leaving for the Wednesday night Green Day show in Pittsburgh (Florio Jr.’s first concert) the Wednesday development in the pending state-court litigation in the two-tiered StarCaps case.

I failed.

I hoped to write something up when I got home.  But it was 2:00 a.m.

So, again, fail.

Better never than late (or something), here we go.

Hennepin County judge Gary Larson (not Gary Larsen of the Vikings but possibly Gary Larson of The Far Side) said he’ll decide by August 7 whether to stay the case attacking the suspensions of Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams under two Minnesota statutes pending the resolution of the appeal of the federal ruling sending the statutory claims back to Judge Larson.

But the federal case is scheduled to be argued on August 18, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that a decision in the federal case will be rendered before the start of the 2009 regular season.

So, basically, we’re only talking about a delay of roughly a month beyond the day two weeks from now when Judge Larson will decide whether to wait that additional month.

Under the circumstances, it makes no sense to push the state-court case forward.

But the NFL apparently is trying to have the state-court action tried during the regular season, if the federal appeal fails.

“There’s no reason there can’t be a trial during the
regular season,” NFL lawyer Joseph Schmitt told the Pioneer Press.  “The Williamses are not any different
from [plaintiffs] in an employment case and shouldn’t receive any
special treatment.”

It sounds to us as if the NFL wants to have it both ways, avoiding a resolution of the state-court case before the regular season in the hopes that the federal appeal will go its way and then pressing for a resolution promptly thereafter, regardless of whether it requires the Vikings players to miss valuable practice time in preparation for a regular-season game.

Said attorney Peter Ginsburg, who represents the Williamses:  “It is fundamentally unfair to have a trial during the season.”

Frankly, we’re not so sure that it is, primarily because we’re not so sure a trial is even needed.

The facts of this case aren’t disputed.  Thus, there’s no apparent reason for a jury to sift through the details and determine who’s telling the truth.  Instead, it seems as if Judge Larson can rule on the case merely by applying the relevant Minnesota statutes to the facts of the case, possibly with a jury trial at a later date to determine any award of monetary damages.

In other words, there’s likely no need for a trial.

Still, the two sides are fighting over that detail.  Primarily because that’s what lawyers do; they fight over anything and everything, either because they simply like to fight or because they wish not to be perceived as being averse to fighting.

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7 Responses to “NFL, Williamses squabble over timing of StarCaps trial”
  1. Beam me up Scotty says: Jul 23, 2009 8:06 AM

    Primarily because that’s what lawyers do; they simply like to fight or because they wish not to be perceived as being averse to fighting.
    Okay Mike, now that explains your psyche…

  2. Bob Nelson says: Jul 23, 2009 9:58 AM

    Tell the truth, lawyer.
    Attorney fight and have very unproductive meeting and schedule as many unproductive meetings as possible so they can charge for more hours of usless service.

  3. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Jul 23, 2009 11:28 AM

    Hopefully when all is said and done, Goodell ups the suspension to 8 games. This is absolutely ridiculous! You know damn well if one of them became a Korey Stringer (ie. Died) last year during training camp because of diuretics/dehydration/hot weather, the wife and family would be crawling up the NFL’s a$$ for money in lawsuits.

  4. VikingsPimp says: Jul 23, 2009 11:51 AM

    I truly hope comon sense prevails and suspensions are either reduced or eliminated altogether. Yes, my name is VikingsPimp so I do have a rooting interest in the outcome, but the reality is if something stupid like this happened to one of your favorite players you would respond the same way. Not just that, these guys werent looking for an edge, and information that would have saved all this nonsense was withheld by the NFL. Pat Williams ways upwards of 340 LBs on a good day and Kevin is a big guy too, it is my feeling, and the feeling of most other impartial observers who neither cheer for the Bears or Packers, that no malice was intended and they should be allowed to run out of the tunnel to open the season.

  5. PJW says: Jul 23, 2009 11:56 AM

    I didn’t see this reported on sportscenter.
    First they ignore the Big Ben story now Floroi Jr’s first concert…they’ve totally lost it.

  6. SpartaChris says: Jul 23, 2009 12:30 PM

    VikingsPimp says:
    July 23, 2009 11:51 AM
    Not just that, these guys werent looking for an edge, and information that would have saved all this nonsense was withheld by the NFL.
    =================================
    It wasn’t. How do you think word about the tainted product made it’s way to the NFLPA and then their agents?
    I’m still interested to know if taking the diuretics was a breach of their contract or not. If it was, why hasn’t the team stepped up and issued notice of pending disciplinary action?

  7. Big Stuff says: Jul 23, 2009 3:38 PM

    My first concert was ZZ Top, Lynard Skynard and J. Geils Band, July 1976 in New Orleans. Unfortunately, Lynard Skynard failed to show up and a riot ensued. Good times for a 14 year old at his first concert.

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