League lifts StarCaps case back to federal court

On Monday, a trial was scheduled to commence in the StarCaps case.

It possibly won’t.

The Associated Press reports that the NFL “wants to move” the lawsuit filed by Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams back to federal court. 

Standard practice in cases of this nature involves an automatic removal of the case to federal court.  Given that the StarCaps case already was in federal court, the situation apparently is more complex.

Federal judge Paul Magnuson will take up the request, which was filed on Wednesday.  Magnuson previously ruled that the Vikings players may pursue in state court claims arising under Minnesota drug-testing laws.  His decision was upheld on appeal.

Barring the intervention of the federal court, the Minnesota proceeding eventually will take up various claims of alleged violations of drug-testing statutes, and the key question of whether the NFL is liable for any violations as a joint employer of the players.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press that the attempted move to federal court is a procedural matter.  Technically, he’s right.  As a practical matter, however, the league is making the move in the hopes of securing a better outcome than the outcome the league fears it will experience in Minnesota court.

UPDATE:  Amazingly, Magnuson already has denied the effort, saying that the attempt to return to federal court “borders on abuse of process.”

3 responses to “League lifts StarCaps case back to federal court

  1. todd,
    I think I will be retired by the time all this is resolved!
    Sometimes principle isn’t enough of a reason to waste loads of time on something that is trivial in the grand scheme of things. At this point it isn’t like the league’s policy success will hinge much on the outcome of this battle. They have to adjust it and pay better attention to the law regardless of whether or not the guys sit.
    And they weren’t even using steroids! Yee haw!

  2. It doesn’t depend on whether the case previously was in federal court. As far as I understand the jurisdictional statutes (28 USC 1331 and 1332–links: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/28/IV/85/1331 http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/28/IV/85/1332), the result of the previous litigation rules out federal question jurisdiction (28 USC 1331)–in other words, the District Court determined, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed, that there was no federal question. So the only remaining issue is whether there is diversity jurisdiction (28 USC 1332). That depends on the complaint–it might well be that the players simply are asking for an injunction. In that case, there is no federal jurisdiction (the statute requires that the amount in controversy must exceed $75,000, but if the plaintiffs aren’t suing for money damages), hence the case must stay in Minnesota state court. Too bad NFL.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!