While perusing on Twitter the reaction to our latest entry about the leaked ledger entries, one link led to another and I landed on Jonathan Vilma’s timeline.
Vilma points out the flaws in the ledger story, from the initial leak being wrong to the corrected leak not meshing with what happened in a game against the Panthers that supposedly produced a trio of game-ending injuries.
Something deeper in Vilma’s entries reminded me of something I forgot to mention the other day. Vilma writes that Commissioner Roger Goodell “has asked for a delay to respond to my defamation suit. He was granted until july 5th to respond. Interesting.”
Unfortunately, it’s not that interesting. Parties who are sued routinely ask for extra time to respond to the complaint. Requests filed for an extension of the deadline to “move, answer, or otherwise plead” (that’s what I used to call it, if anyone cares . . . and no one does) are routinely granted, too.
There’s nothing sinister about it, especially in this case. Goodell undoubtedly will avoid responding to the specific allegations contained in Vilma’s complaint, filing instead a motion to dismiss the case based on the argument that the claims made by Vilma are covered by the grievance procedure contained in the labor agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.
Typically, the request for a delay is driven by the personal calendar of the lawyer who’ll be handling the case. With pre-existing professional and personal commitments, it simply may be impossible for the lawyer to put together the motion and the brief and the other bells and whistles that, in this case, could be put together very, very quickly. Instead of doing it quickly, the lawyer will want to do it accurately.
Indeed, in an industry driven by billable hours, time is of the essence in a much different way.