Minnesota judge Gary Larson to stay until the end of the 2009 season the state-court action brought by Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams challenging the suspension imposed against them by the NFL for violation of the policy regarding steroids and related substances, according to Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The league had wanted Judge Larson to stay the case only until a federal appeals court determines whether a federal district judge properly sent the case back to state court based on the conclusion that two claims brought under Minnesota statutory law supersede the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the NFLPA. The league also wanted Judge Larson to proceed with a trial during the 2009 season, if the federal appeals court rules that the case properly can be pursued in state court.
Larson has opted not to let the NFL have it both ways. Thus, the case won’t proceed until after the season.
Then again, if the federal appeals court finds that the federal district judge got it wrong, the state court case won’t proceed at all, and the four-game suspensions will be implemented, as required by the CBA.
An oral argument in the federal appeals court is set for August 18, and a ruling is expected before Week One.
So, basically, if Kevin and Pat Williams clear this one final hurdle in the federal appeals court, they’ll be available for all of the 2009 season.