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Judge dismisses Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Goodell

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The bounty case is now over.  Mostly.

Judge Helen G. Berrigan dismissed linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced the development on Twitter.

Goodell and the NFL had filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents players from suing Goodell personally for claims of this nature.  Judge Berrigan agreed with the league that, under federal law, Vilma could not sue Goodell directly, but that any remedies must be pursued under the CBA.

Vilma claimed that Goodell told lies about the player’s involvement in the bounty case.  Even if the case had been permitted to proceed, Vilma would have been required to prove that Goodell knew that the information was false or that he acted with reckless disregard to whether the information was true of false, since Vilma is a public figure.

Vilma will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.

Even if Vilma chooses not to continue the lawsuit, there are still a pair of loose ends in the bounty case.  Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will at some point apply for reinstatement.  There’s no guarantee their requests will be granted.

Last month, all player suspensions were overturned by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

UPDATE 7:20 p.m. ET:  Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, tells PFT that Vilma is considering his options.

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33 Responses to “Judge dismisses Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Goodell”
  1. filthymcnasty1 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:08 PM

    Our long national nightmare is over.

  2. ripster65 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:12 PM

    YES!!! An NFL story! Granted, it’s regarding that dead horse called “Vilma”, but enough of Manti already. My head’s spinning faster with each “new development” in his case. At this point I actually welcome the return of bounty-gate.

  3. marcinhouston says: Jan 17, 2013 7:13 PM

    What is the process in the CBA to address willfull misconduct by the commissioner? The commissioner is as human and capable of harmful misconduct as the players and there needs to be a hearing to consider the punishment for his lies.

  4. tincansailor981 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:14 PM

    It’s finally over. Let all parties get over their hurt, pull up their pants and get back to the game.

  5. bucrightoff says: Jan 17, 2013 7:17 PM

    And the Saints are gonna cut him in the offseason to boot. A return to the Jets perhaps?

  6. percydovetonsils says: Jan 17, 2013 7:19 PM

    All those who offered up predictions of “home cooking” and other slander against Judge Berrigan should admit they, well, misjudged her.

  7. chattanola says: Jan 17, 2013 7:21 PM

    I guess Vilma couldn’t prove Goodell’s intent to cause harm anymore than Goodell could prove Vilma’s intent to cause harm.

    So, on a legal level, it’s a wash.

    But I’m glad (and I’m gonna bet that other players in the NFL are glad) that Vilma had the stones to speak up for him self and go up against a Commissioner who has proven himself to be reckless with power–CBA or no CBA.

  8. the1bigbird says: Jan 17, 2013 7:22 PM

    Vilma just put a bounty on the judge.

  9. captatl says: Jan 17, 2013 7:25 PM

    its not like this is a surprise. Federal judges dont just dismiss cases on a whim. Im sure there was evidential disclosure that led to her dismissing. She took a parting shot at Roger as all Saint fans do. A true Who Dat. So, how much of a stink would arise if upon departing NOLA after presenting Arthur Blank with the Lombardi, that Goodell says that Paytons application for reinstatement is denied until further notice.

  10. the1bigbird says: Jan 17, 2013 7:27 PM

    The result of this suit matched the level of play from Vilam this year. In the end it made little difference. Enjoy the retirement.

  11. johnclaytonsponytail says: Jan 17, 2013 7:30 PM

    Lookin forward for him to come back next year. Let it go my boy. Its ran its course and I dont want things dragged into next year.

  12. coltzfan166 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:32 PM

    Good. If anything, Goodell should sue Vilma.

  13. kerryc21realty says: Jan 17, 2013 7:45 PM

    Good, it’s about time a judge made a good common seance decision

  14. robert831 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:46 PM

    “Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will at some point apply for reinstatement. There’s no guarantee their requests will be granted.”

    Lets all hope they are never ever reinstated! Screw these cheaters. The Taints of 2009.

  15. sparky151 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:51 PM

    That decision doesn’t make much sense. Judge Berrigan said that Vilma’s status as a team employee meant the CBA barred litigation over anything Vilma did in the course of his employment. So if Vilma says that Goodell molests children in his off hours that would be slanderous but if he says Goodell does in the NFL office on company time, the CBA covers it.

  16. derfshambeaux says: Jan 17, 2013 7:53 PM

    Sick pic.

  17. kerryc21realty says: Jan 17, 2013 7:53 PM

    I really don’t like this team much at all, I hope the whole organization suffers from this for a long time

  18. cags777 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:55 PM

    Hahahahahahaha! Justice served! No explanation needed! And don’t think about suing the NFL if you suffer a career-threatening injury.

  19. cwwgk says: Jan 17, 2013 7:57 PM

    Can’t wait to read how Judge Berrigan, who was going to serve true justice upon Goodell, fits into the conspiracy.

  20. purplegreenandgold says: Jan 17, 2013 7:59 PM

    robert831 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:46 PM

    “Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will at some point apply for reinstatement. There’s no guarantee their requests will be granted.”

    Lets all hope they are never ever reinstated! Screw these cheaters. The Taints of 2009.
    ======================================
    Its Over… move on Vikings…you made the playoffs, so build up for the future and stop living in the past

  21. jason1980 says: Jan 17, 2013 8:07 PM

    I can’t believe that their are NFL fans out there still whining about us Saints. Get on with your lives haters, we’ll see you folks next season. Lol. Mr. Vilma, we love you man.

  22. omniscient48 says: Jan 17, 2013 8:34 PM

    Peter Ginsberg is the big WINNER!!!

  23. yourignorancespreads says: Jan 17, 2013 9:23 PM

    So players can be held responsible for lying and misconduct but the commissioner can lie and do whatever he feels that’s great. Keep ruining the game GOODELL you pig. Money goes only so far then one day your sitting by your self and the dark abyss in front of you wishing for gods help to free you of all your sins and lies. Well may god have mercy on your soul commish

  24. briang123 says: Jan 17, 2013 9:26 PM

    This decision is just like the Richard Sherman decision: not on the merits. And just like Sherman, Goodell’s stooges are acting like he was vindicated, which he certainly was not.

  25. annes22 says: Jan 17, 2013 9:42 PM

    Good for the judge. Jonathon Vilma go waste your
    money on another worthless law suit, why not???
    Everyone is sick to death of this, it’s been going on for too long, and no one cares. Gregg Williams should never get another job in the NFl.

  26. yetimonster says: Jan 17, 2013 9:51 PM

    HAHA what a turd.

  27. redmanalishi says: Jan 17, 2013 9:56 PM

    Here’s a tip for you Wilma: It is not defamation when it’s all true.

  28. firedup1 says: Jan 17, 2013 10:00 PM

    There is a quarterback that needs an explanation.

  29. thejuddstir says: Jan 17, 2013 10:01 PM

    Judge Judy is giving a big sigh. She made all her prejudicial threats to Goodell and the NFL all the while holding her breath that it would be settled outside of her courtroom so she could save face. Whether a bountygate ruling or defamation ruling, judge judy knew perfectly well it would only be a temporary ruling as the Federal Appeals Court would’ve overruled her and most likely admonished her specifically for making the prejudicial threats that she made regarding the fact that she was going to find a reason to rule in favor of hometown boy and team. I would bet the farm that in private she has received a tongue lashing from her superiors.

  30. firedup1 says: Jan 17, 2013 10:01 PM

    This is not over until Brees says its over.

  31. slickster35 says: Jan 17, 2013 10:17 PM

    Stay down b!tch!

  32. pinion8ted says: Jan 18, 2013 12:24 AM

    How could it have been defamation, if it was true?

  33. turfrage says: Jan 18, 2013 12:37 AM

    Finally!!!! Good call. Move on.

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