With the labor negotiations teetering on the brink, the union has ramped up the litigation pressure, possibly in advance of the decertify-and-sue maneuver.
The Associated Press reports that the NFLPA has filed a motion with U.S. Judge David Doty requesting that he unseal evidence and testimony from the “lockout insurance” case. In the court filing, union lawyers explained that “such openness” provides context that “will be the basis for rulings to come.”
The next big ruling in the lockout insurance case relates to whether Judge Doty will prevent the league from receiving the $4.3 billion in 2011 TV revenue in the event of a work stoppage. Last week, Judge Doty found that the league violated the CBA by failing to maximize the revenue shared by the NFL and the players when negotiating the term that will pay only the owners during a lockout.
The NFLPA claims that the league has yet to explain why the information should remain sealed, and that the league has failed to cooperate with efforts to agree on strategies for protecting third parties, specifically the networks.
It appears that the union primarily hopes to apply more pressure to the league at this delicate juncture of the labor talks. A decision to release the materials could result in negative P.R. fallout for the league, and it possibly could strain relations with the networks, depending on the extent to which potentially proprietary information is protected.