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 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
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.