Skip to content

Judge Nelson appoints magistrate judge to handle mediation

AJB25

If you watched PFT Live today, you heard that we’d heard that Judge Susan Nelson would appoint a magistrate judge to preside over mediation between the NFL and the players, if the NFL and the players weren’t able to agree on their own to a mediator.

(If you didn’t watch PFT Live today, what the hell is wrong with you?)

Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that Judge Nelson has appointed Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan (pictured) to handle the mediation.  Which means that, as expected, the parties weren’t able to agree to a mediator.

But the players essentially got what they wanted.  The mediation will occur under the umbrella of the federal litigation, without George Cohen being involved — despite the fact that Cohen had a 17-day head start, as lawyer David Boies explained it last week, on the process.

In the federal system, magistrate judges typically handle discovery disputes and other low-level matters.  Thus, the mediation will occur before someone who potentially will have a direct role in the litigation moving forward, which means that any rudeness or misbehavior could, as a practical matter, work against the party who acts up.  At some point, for example, the parties inevitably will grapple regarding the question of whether team-by-team financial records should be disclosed.  It’s entirely possible that Magistrate Judge Boylan will be the person to resolve that issue, with Judge Nelson handling any appeal.

Speaking of Judge Nelson, she’ll surely keep tabs on the process by talking to Magistrate Judge Boylan.  Thus, it’s an opportunity for each side to appear reasonable — or unreasonable — in the eyes of the court that will be issuing plenty of rulings, if the litigation proceeds.

The mediation session begins Thursday, in Magistrate Judge Boylan’s Minneapolis chambers.  It remains to be seen whether any, some, or all of the specific parties will be required to attend in person.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Union
42 Responses to “Judge Nelson appoints magistrate judge to handle mediation”
  1. 3octaveFart says: Apr 11, 2011 3:15 PM

    Did things just get better, ..or worse?

  2. FinFan68 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:17 PM

    Nice to see there was no bias to either side; just a good ol’ fashioned compromise. /End sarcasm.

    The players got everything they wanted and the owners got…nothing. It seems to me that the fairest thing would have been to use Cohen as the mediator under the supervision of the courts.

  3. broncfanor says: Apr 11, 2011 3:18 PM

    Yet another futile attempt to resolve the situation.

  4. hobartbaker says: Apr 11, 2011 3:19 PM

    Boylan is appealing the decision to drop the morons in his lap. He thinks the straw drawing ceremony was rigged.

  5. easyeddie says: Apr 11, 2011 3:21 PM

    Movement —finally — on this mess?

  6. brazy44 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:23 PM

    BOYCOTT THE DRAFT!!!

    if there is no deal by draft day, don’t watch it or go.
    Why?
    Becasue it might just remind them whos money they are arguing over and get them to actually make a dam deal, that’s why.

  7. mackie66 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:24 PM

    Ive worked for several large companys during my working years, but I can never remember one single Co that opened their books for me, in order to secure a position in that company. Is this normal for CEO’s of large companys, ie NFL, to open books so the employees could have a looksee? The players are telling everyone who will listen they are partners with NFL owners. But do the players share operating expenses ? Ever wonder how much money it requires to operate an NFL team? If the players are truley partners then shouldnt they also share the expenses ?
    Just wondering…..

  8. duanethomas says: Apr 11, 2011 3:28 PM

    Another win for the players, this is becoming laughable. David Boies and the hardline owners are dragging The NFL down a destructive path. The slop jar carries on here will keep defending the owners until the end, which will end in the players winning. Then blame the cost of going to the game on players. Stupid is as stupid does.

  9. seahawkhuskyfan says: Apr 11, 2011 3:30 PM

    What would happen if the owners just decided to cancel the 2011 season? Do you think that thought has entered any of the players minds?

  10. Julian says: Apr 11, 2011 3:35 PM

    Oh great, an update on the most annoying story in the NFL today that isn’t “rich owners and rich players come to an agreement”.

  11. kate773 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:36 PM

    Not to be confused with Judd Nelson.

  12. src3346 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:39 PM

    I would like to congratulate the NLRB for their expedient handling of Decertification Shamgate. An answer from the NLRB would certainly give everyone a sense of where this circus is headed.

  13. eagleswin says: Apr 11, 2011 3:40 PM

    The players had no incentive to agree as they really didn’t care who they got (once they couldn’t get Doty) as long as it was a judge.

    The owners pretty much got shafted on the decision but that’s the breaks.

    I hope the owners get to start over rather than starting at their last proposal as the owners really made alot of concessions to get the deal done previously. The players need to make concessions as well so we’ll see how serious they are as they made ZERO counterproposals during the last mediation.

  14. doncornelious says: Apr 11, 2011 3:43 PM

    Seeing how this guy’s picture is not a typewriter I take it this is a good thing ?

  15. realitypolice says: Apr 11, 2011 3:45 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    Apr 11, 2011 3:17 PM
    Nice to see there was no bias to either side; just a good ol’ fashioned compromise. /End sarcasm.

    The players got everything they wanted and the owners got…nothing. It seems to me that the fairest thing would have been to use Cohen as the mediator under the supervision of the courts.
    ===================

    So obviously this judge is incredibly biased towards the players, too.

    Boy, what is it with these judge types?

    It couldn’t be that impartial people without a dog in the fight look at the legal arguments objectively and see little merit in the owner’s position?

    Have you always wondered why putting the facts before someone who understands the law like a judge is always seen as a such a disadvantage for the owners?

    Or maybe the judge saw little benefit in returning talks to a mediator who got zero respect and no progress from either side and has no power to force either side to do anything.

    No, you’re right, I’m sure it has nothing to do with any of those things.

    Just another judge who obviously loves socialism and hates America.

  16. realfann says: Apr 11, 2011 3:45 PM

    @mackie66

    That’s because you have never had a contract with your employers to share revenue.

    Now pay attention.

    Unless you’ve played in the NFL under a CBA, your experience is totally irrelevant.

    And yes, the players did share operating expenses with the league under the last CBA. The first one billion in revenue went entirely to the owners to cover that. In other words, the players contributed approximately half a billion toward operating expenses.

  17. dryzzt23 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:48 PM

    I have to wonder if Judge Boylan is a liberal or isa pro-union person b/c that will make a difference

  18. realfann says: Apr 11, 2011 3:48 PM

    @seahawkhuskyfan

    The fans, the TV networks, Congress & the President would be almighty pissed.

    A bunch of the owners would also be pissed.

    You really think they all think like Jurry Jones & Bob Kraft??? I doubt if a majority would vote for the season to be cancelled. They’re not all stupid & greedy.

  19. mrjackson206 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:51 PM

    Good move by Judge Nelson since being forced to negotiate a new CBA is the only way the two parties were actually EVER GOING TO MOVE FORWARD with getting a new CBA done.

  20. grantmp1 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:58 PM

    I’ve got 3 questions:
    1) Does ordering the NFL/NFLPA to mediation changes Judge Nelson’s own timeline for making a decision re: the injunction?

    2) If the lockout-ending injunction is granted AND the appeal is NOT stayed, could there be a new league year and the start of FA w/in 2 weeks?

    3) Really, this is the same question as question 2: Can you please update your March 10 article re: conditions for start of New League Year? That article imagined a future where Doty was in charge of blocking the lockout. What has changed since then?

    @grantmp1

  21. shotswithkosar says: Apr 11, 2011 4:02 PM

    mackie66
    If you worked for “several large companies” odds are they were publicly held. All publicly held companies publish their books every 3 months. Not only will you find out how much money the CEO makes but also how much all the officers of the company make. With the exception of the Packers all NFL teams are privately held so they are not required to open their books. I find it funny that all these posters think “opening your books” is some sort of unheard of practice.

  22. Deb says: Apr 11, 2011 4:06 PM

    @30octave …

    Depends on your perspective. By mine … better :)

  23. actuallawyer says: Apr 11, 2011 4:08 PM

    If you bothered to read the online court docket, you’d see that the Magistrate assigned to address discovery and other minor pretrial issues is NOT the same Magistrate assigned to conduct the mediation.

    (This is my second attempt to make this point. Seems I’m being blocked by someone – maybe Flordio correcting his blatant error?)

  24. realitypolice says: Apr 11, 2011 4:08 PM

    dryzzt23 says:
    Apr 11, 2011 3:48 PM
    I have to wonder if Judge Boylan is a liberal or isa pro-union person b/c that will make a difference
    ==============

    Not necessarily.

    Most judges, unlike people on here, understand the difference between a real union and the NFLPA*, and understand that football players aren’t really “union laborers”.

    However they represent themselves, the NFLPA* is a business organization representing the interests of what are essentially independent contractors.

    The CBA sets the ground rules, but the fact is that individual players negotiate their own individual contracts with the franchises. Contract length, compensation and bonus structure vary from player to player, much like it would in a company that employs other types of independent contractors.

    This is why I always laugh when people on here say that if you support the players you are “pro-labor” and if you support the owners you are “pro-business”.

    There are nothing but businessmen in this dispute.

  25. Deb says: Apr 11, 2011 4:12 PM

    BTW, 30octave, my perspective is that I want this thing ended as soon as possible with as much compromise and as little bloodshed as possible so the antitrust suits will be dropped and the season can be resumed. In the best of all possible worlds, I’d like them to pick up where they left off, work on the points of contention and come up with a new CBA before the draft.

    I just think that’s more likely to happen without Cohen since he couldn’t get it done before and with the court’s supervision.

  26. purpleguy says: Apr 11, 2011 4:14 PM

    Before judge Nelson and the federal system is trashed too much, a couple things have to be understood: (1) in MN federal practice, it’s common practice for the federal judge to assign a lower federal magistrate judge to mediate actions — so what Judge Nelson is doing here is following standard practice in this court; (2) magistrate judge Boylon is a judge that formerly worked in out-state MN, he’s not a dope (but not a high intellectual either), and can be a hardass if the participants aren’t cooperating with mediation, and (3) if the magistrate has to go to the federal judge to enforce mediation procedure, the federal judge won’t be happy.

  27. schemefactory says: Apr 11, 2011 4:31 PM

    if the people running minnesota’s courts are the same kind that run it’s football team/stadium building, the whole league is screwed.

  28. footballfan292 says: Apr 11, 2011 4:41 PM

    Public corporations publish their financial data every quarter. The shareholders are entitled that information to determine if the company is using their investment wisely. If the company is struggling and the CEO is making a ton of money…the shareholder has a right to know that, and has a right to withdrawl his money from that company if he chooses.

    31 of the 32 franchises in the NFL are private. So they dont legally have to provide financial data. However if you are opting out of a labor agreement that you signed in good faith claiming you are losing money but want to provide no proof of that….I wouldn’t agree to a pay cut either if I were the union.

    The owners were not forced to agree to that deal in 2006. They voted 30-2 to approve it. I don’t know why people in here are bashing the players because the owners agreed to a bad deal. Why is that the player’s fault?

  29. seahawkhuskyfan says: Apr 11, 2011 4:42 PM

    realfann says:
    Apr 11, 2011 3:48 PM
    @seahawkhuskyfan

    The fans, the TV networks, Congress & the President would be almighty pissed.

    A bunch of the owners would also be pissed.

    You really think they all think like Jurry Jones & Bob Kraft??? I doubt if a majority would vote for the season to be cancelled. They’re not all stupid & greedy.

    __________________________________

    What you call stupid and greedy some call smart. Everybody wants a season to happen. I am sure a bunch of the owners would be upset. I just don’t think the players realize how good they have it. How many could find other jobs?

  30. alkscout says: Apr 11, 2011 4:53 PM

    Again, go Phillies!!

  31. FinFan68 says: Apr 11, 2011 5:24 PM

    realitypolice says:
    Apr 11, 2011 3:45 PM

    It couldn’t be that impartial people without a dog in the fight look at the legal arguments objectively and see little merit in the owner’s position?

    The judge ordered mediation which has absolutely nothing to do with the legal arguments of either side.

    Have you always wondered why putting the facts before someone who understands the law like a judge is always seen as a such a disadvantage for the owners?

    The judges in these cases do not look at the CBA process, they look at the antitrust issues when applied to a market without a CBA. Those are two completely different dynamics.

    Or maybe the judge saw little benefit in returning talks to a mediator who got zero respect and no progress from either side and has no power to force either side to do anything.

    So, starting over at square one is a much better option, right? Time is of no consequence, right? As many on both sides have pointed out, Cohen’s mediation sessions were non-binding. He couldn’t make either side do anything at all. That would not be the case here, and Cohen has personal knowledge of the shenanigans performed by both sides during the latest “talks” so he would have been able to call BS when one side or the other tries to pull some stupid crap. The new guy will have no idea what was said, how belligerent either side has been, what exactly the offers/counter offers were, etc.
    —-
    No, you’re right, I’m sure it has nothing to do with any of those things.

    At least you got one point right. :)
    —-
    Just another judge who obviously loves socialism and hates America.

    That’s your take on it, not mine. My point was simple. Mediation/negotiations are based on compromise so it would make sense to start out/re-enter that process with a compromise at the start rather than alienate one side from the start. It would have been just as “wrong” if the judge had ordered them to resume the previous talks with Cohen and no judicial oversight.

  32. locutus says: Apr 11, 2011 5:46 PM

    The owners were not forced to agree to that deal in 2006. They voted 30-2 to approve it. I don’t know why people in here are bashing the players because the owners agreed to a bad deal. Why is that the player’s fault?

    What I don’t understand is why people do not understand that the owners agreed to that deal in order to keep the business (NFL) moving. They knew it was all one-sided and put in the clause for the opt out. A legal business move, for those of dull mind. They triggered the clause because they wanted a FAIRER deal, get it? The players are simply selfish and greedy with no risk involved, aside from their self selected occupational hazards. But if that troubles them too, then they can move along to whatever career they so choose. They are college grads after all …(smirrkk)

  33. philphan1 says: Apr 11, 2011 5:59 PM

    The Court ordered mediation is better for the fans, I think. Keeping it under the umbrella of the court gives the whole process teeth. Contempt of Court is serious stuff.

    The judges will not take kindly to texting and tweeting leaks all over the place by different plaintiffs (players). Quick somebody hack Twitter!

    The judges will not tolerate the owners’ “holier than thow”, condescending attitude of The Jerrys, (Jones & Richardson) and their ilk either. Would you buy a used car from either one?

    D Smith and The Commish should make a public apology to each other representing both sides. Bury the hatchet? Then, as Larry the Cable Guy would say “Git ‘er done!!!!”

  34. davikes says: Apr 11, 2011 6:23 PM

    I don’t care whether or not the players get to see the books. I want to see the books, because the billionaires keep asking ME TO PAY for their stadiums. I just hope the politicians in MN are bright enough to ask see the books before they attempt to screw the taxpayer again. If every team cut it’s payroll in half, they could pay for their own stadiums, and the players would still be far richer than the average fan.

  35. zn0rseman says: Apr 11, 2011 6:32 PM

    Brilliant. One ultra-left leaning judge hands off responsibility to another ultra-left leaning judge, but does so tactfully by making sure the new liberal activist judge wasn’t appointed by Obama, which will less knowledgeable fans from blaming the left when the owners cry foul and rebel against the liberal judges who are trying to help out their union friends, and in doing so are effectively destroying the business that the owners built… which is the NFL.

    Destroying business is what unions do best.

  36. realfann says: Apr 11, 2011 7:24 PM

    @zn0rseman

    The players built the NFL not Jurry Jones, Bob Kraft, John York, John Mora or any other of the owners.

    Except perhaps Al Davis.

  37. canuck54143 says: Apr 11, 2011 7:34 PM

    At first I wanted the owners to win, but than I looked back to when there wasn’t a draft, revenue sharing etc, and my team was a powerhouse. So now I’m pro players so the NFL becomes everyone for themselves, and has to recruit rookies, determine their own salary limits, determine benefits as they seem fit. My team is from the third largest market television market in the USA I’m sure they’ll be fine. Who cares about the small market Teams right NFLPA*. Who would have thought MLB’s model would be so popular.

  38. realitypolice says: Apr 11, 2011 8:46 PM

    FinFan68 says:

    The judge ordered mediation which has absolutely nothing to do with the legal arguments of either side.
    ==============

    Your original post clearly infers that the judge favored the players when choosing the mediator. You can spin that however you want now.

    The judges in these cases do not look at the CBA process, they look at the antitrust issues when applied to a market without a CBA. Those are two completely different dynamics.
    ==========

    Um….no. The JUDGE that was just selected to preside over the mediation, which is the JUDGE I was referring to will most certainly be looking at the CBA process.

  39. 3octaveFart says: Apr 11, 2011 9:00 PM

    zn0rseman says: Apr 11, 2011 6:32 PM

    You left out the part about how the terrorists are coming to get us… don’t forget to toss in the fear factor in everything.

  40. FinFan68 says: Apr 11, 2011 9:31 PM

    I believe the owners signed the last deal in order to keep the games going. They could have made a stand at that time and we would have all gone through this garbage a few years ago. They didn’t and put in the opt out clause in case Brown and Wilson were right. As it turns out, most (if not all) the owners are now in agreement with the Brown/Wilson assessment of a few years ago. They triggered the opt-out clause (that the players agreed to) and the players decided to decertify/litigate rather than negotiate a new deal. The suit attacks free agency restrictions, the salary cap, standardized rules and other items the players believe to be in violation of anti-trust laws. What I find interseting as that all of those anti-trust items existed in the last CBA yet there was no talk of decertification or anti-trust suits. The reason is simple…the players’ union will use the court system to try and gain an advantage whenever the proposed changes are not to their liking.

  41. whoisgonnasing says: Apr 11, 2011 10:11 PM

    What does Judd Nelson have to do with football?

  42. FinFan68 says: Apr 11, 2011 10:37 PM

    @ reality police,
    My original post was about the lack of a compromise by Judge Nelson when ordering the circumstances of the mediation; and the second post maintained the same point. No spin at all.

    Your post didn’t read like you were referring to the magistrate, since you mentioned a decision based on seeing no merit on the owners side. The only judge that has made any decision on this is Nelson.

    My point still is that Judge Nelson did not odre the most obvious compromise when determining how the mediation process will take place. The players got exactly what they wanted and the owners didn’t. That’s the breaks, but ther could have been a small compromise there.

Leave a Reply

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