The United States system of federal courts are divided into circuits. In all, there are 11 circuits (twelve if you include the fact that the District of Columbia has its own circuit).
The Eighth Circuit, headquartered in St. Louis, consists of seven states — including Minnesota. And the Eighth Circuit is the new focal point of the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit.
The league announced last night that documents seeking an immediate stay of the lifting of the lockout would be filed. Adam Schefter of ESPN points out that the front page of the Eighth Circuit’s website already has been reconfigured to embrace its brand-new case.
“The court has docketed the National Football League’s appeal from Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s April 25, 2011 order enjoining the lockout,” the website states.
“A briefing schedule will be set shortly. Information about the schedule and the date and location of oral argument will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.”
It’s unclear how quickly, or slowly, the Eighth Circuit will move. Until it does, we remain convinced that Judge Nelson has lifted the lockout and required the NFL to commence business as usual, and that failure to do so will be grounds for a finding of contempt of court — an outcome that entails potential civil and criminal penalties.