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StarCaps trial ends, but decision not coming for a while

The StarCaps trial started slowly, moved slowly, and ended abruptly.

As explained by Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the StarCaps trial is over, after a week that featured testimony from 12 witnesses and an hour of closing arguments.

Though the procedural aspects of the trial have at times been confusing, it now appears that the five-day trial was conducted before Judge Gary Larson only, without a jury present.  Confirming this reality is the fact that Judge Larson has asked for written briefs to be submitted
by the parties by April 2, and Judge Larson has promised a decision within 45
days thereafter.

When we last spoke to plaintiffs’ lawyer Peter Ginsberg in late February regarding the situation, he explained that the court and the parties were in the process of determining the issues that would be resolved by the judge and the issues that would be resolved by a jury — which suggests that, as of three weeks ago, a jury trial was still being contemplated, at least as to some issues.

Our best guess at this point (and we’re in the process of tracking down further information) is that Judge Larson ultimately decided to conduct a bench trial on issues such as the question of whether the NFL is a joint employer of the Vikings’ players, which would make the league directly responsible for any violations of Minnesota statutory drug-testing laws, and the question of whether the league breached confidentiality provisions of the Minnesota statutes by leaking information regarding the positive tests to the media.

Then, under our half-informed speculation, a jury trial would be conducted as to the question of damages, if any, to be awarded and possibly as to any issues about which Judge Larson concludes that a “genuine issue of material fact” exists — legalese for “a pissing match.”

But the biggest question in the case apparently will be resolved by the middle of May:  whether Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams will be suspended four games for testing positive for the banned diuretic that had been secretly placed into StarCaps.  In our view, two key facts could drive this decision in favor of the players.  First, others who tested positive for Bumetanide after taking StarCaps were not suspended.  Second, the league learned that StarCaps contained Bumetanide — a potent drug with potentially serious side effects — but did nothing to warn the players, the FDA, or anyone else of this discovery.

So while there might be a trial at some point in the future aimed at determining whether and to what extent money will change hands, the key decision will be issued at or around Mother’s Day, and the ruling likely will prompt one of the two sides to utter an expletive containing the word “muther,” with or without a hyphen.

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13 Responses to “StarCaps trial ends, but decision not coming for a while”
  1. Jabroni says: Mar 13, 2010 10:33 AM

    What a giant waste of time and money

  2. Bob Nelson says: Mar 13, 2010 10:38 AM

    There was no need for the damages part of this trial. Confidentiality breach cannot be proven.
    My specculation is:
    1) There will likely be a decision that splits who employs these rulesbreakers. It will be one that the NFL will enjoy.
    2) It will likely say that they are employees of the Vikings who decided whether to hire or cut and set the compensation for the employee.
    3) There will also likely be language that a team’s employees must confrom with the rules collectively bargained with between the Union a and NFL which represents a group of owners. So for some issues they are employees of NFL and having to maintain NFL standards.
    4) The NFL will enjoy the ability to argue one way or the other depending on the issue.
    Otherwise if viking players are able to abuse any substance until they are caught for the second time will surely bring mulitple litigation in other states for this unfairness.
    And for these particular players who will lose on every issue may avoid suspension on the technicality that the NFL did not notify them in a timely many.
    In summary The NFL claims a win and policy does not change until the new CBA, the players claim a win but for none of the issues argued, and the Union will lose in a big way.

  3. Smoking Joe says: Mar 13, 2010 10:43 AM

    Would be nice to see the roid wall sit out 4 games after the start of the season.

  4. IAVikefan says: Mar 13, 2010 10:45 AM

    The link to the “with or without a hyphen” made this worth reading every word… lol! I totally forgot about that movie till just now…

  5. Randomjim says: Mar 13, 2010 10:48 AM

    “. Second, the league learned that StarCaps contained Bumetanide — a potent drug with potentially serious side effects — but did nothing to warn the players, the FDA, or anyone else of this discovery”
    This is why I don’t buy into the league as trying to protect it’s players. They knew this for too long not to have it listed.

  6. scrapdawg12 says: Mar 13, 2010 10:50 AM

    The NFL needs to get over themselves. They act like the big almighty. They are nothing. Goodell steals from these players because celebrations, now he wants to suspend and steal from players because they were told this stuff was legal. The NFL should be the ones fined here, not the players involved.

  7. shadowGM says: Mar 13, 2010 10:52 AM

    Well, that should be the end of the “Legend of Fat Williams” in the NFL as well as a good slap on the idiot head of Kevin Williams (Fat is a mindless ingesting blob, so I’m not surprised there – but KW knows better).
    Blaming the trainers was a joke. Grade school, actually.

  8. JimmySmith says: Mar 13, 2010 11:16 AM

    The bottom line is there are 31 other teams that follow the rules and when rules are broken, pay the consequences. For whatever reason, the Viking players don’t feel the same way and to avoid consequences, will employ any number of novel legal strategies.
    A sitting Minnesota judge can hardly be expected to rule objectively but notice how that was never mentioned. He is probably as frustrated as any other Viking fan about the zero Superbowls, the 0-5 record in their last 5 NFC championship games and subconsciously harbors resentment and suspicion toward the NFL. Even with a stacked deck, the fat Williams sisters could very well lose and in the interest of fair play and a level playing field, should lose.
    Whatever the final outcome, the stink from this will remain like the skid marks in the Viking fan’s underwear. While the rest of us think it stinks and should be addressed, the Viking fan base is quite willing to sit among the stench and say it’s not so bad.

  9. GrandsoOfCoach says: Mar 13, 2010 11:42 AM

    StarCaps was on the banned substance list. What more does the NFL need to do? Why would they need to disclose ingeedients of a banned substance? Banned means don’t take it. Follow those rules…simple…then it doesn’t matter what’s in it.

  10. chickenragnar says: Mar 13, 2010 12:44 PM

    I just don’t believe that Bob and Jimmy commented on this article, I just can’t.
    2 turds in the toilet bowl of life.
    The big question is if they are sinkers or floaters?
    What do you think Vikes fans?

  11. JimmySmith says: Mar 13, 2010 2:30 PM

    Well, I can’t believe that the Viking fans will comment on the facts, but then again, facts are facts, opinion is easier to spout, like, We’re going to the Superbowl!!! (with Mike Tice’s tickets)

  12. Randomjim says: Mar 13, 2010 4:41 PM

    Jimmy & Grandso read or have someone read the article for you.
    First, others who tested positive for Bumetanide after taking StarCaps were not suspended. Second, the league learned that StarCaps contained Bumetanide — a potent drug with potentially serious side effects — but did nothing to warn the players, the FDA, or anyone else of this discovery.
    First is for Jimminy
    Second is for grandso

  13. SwedishMurderMachine says: Mar 14, 2010 11:30 PM

    Don’t you Packer dicks have anything better to do than flood every Viking post w/yr stupid posts. You are like Patton Oswalts character in the movie Big Fan. Sitting in yr mom’s basement writing yr anti-viking rants that no one cares about and masturbating.

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