Judge dismisses most of painkiller lawsuit

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A lawsuit that could have created major P.R. issues and potentially significant liability for the NFL’s teams has been largely resolved, with the league winning.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Judge William Alsup dismissed most of the legal claims made against the league’s 32 teams for allegedly dispensing painkillers to players. The judge allowed nine specific players to pursue certain charged, but the bulk of the case has been rejected. The plaintiffs will have the right to appeal the decision.

Judge Alsup wrote in the order rejecting the claims that the case was “replete with extensive and incendiary allegations of conspiracy and general illegality (e.g., that the NFL’s handling and distribution of medication violated the Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act).” He explained that what’s relevant isn’t “whether plaintiffs have drawn attention to widespread misconduct in the NFL but whether each plaintiff has properly pled claims for relief against each individual club.”

In other words, it’s one thing for the NFL and its teams to have engaged in improper behavior, and it’s another for those things to give rise to a violation of the law for which the plaintiffs have a right to compensation.

Documents from the case emerged in March, but because they were disclosed on the first day of free agency, the materials were largely overlooked.

The lawsuit against the team emerged after Judge Alsup concluded in 2014 that any claims against the NFL itself are preempted by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the union.

8 responses to “Judge dismisses most of painkiller lawsuit

  1. So in a nutshell pending appeal the league as a whole is off the hook but 9 of it’s member clubs are not and the other 23 may follow. The press from multiple court battles against as many as 32 teams may get more attention than one suit. This is a long way from over and could get much uglier.

  2. I can imagine the trainer on most every team dispensing oxycontin and other opioid painkillers without a license. Another alternative might be the team doctor just writing prescriptions for everyone on the roster to be used as necessary. On the other hand, does anybody really think these 300lb millionaires are going to debase themselves by actually taking a piece of paper down to the drug store and then waiting around for 45 minutes while the pharmacist verifies the coverage and fills the order. This could get real ugly for the medical staffs of the teams involved.

  3. maxkingpin says:
    May 16, 2017 2:54 PM
    The NFLPA really lost that last CBA negotiation.
    Business schools should teach that as how not to negotiate for your union.
    =====================

    Most of the allegations pertain to club activity predating the last CBA negotiations. The NFLPA has never ‘won’ a CBA negotiation with the league. All of it’s victories have been small and thanks to the brief nature of the average player’s career the league will probably continue to win the wars. As a teaching tool the NFL/NFLPA dynamic is probably next to useless. Out here in the real world there’s such things as antitrust, restraint of trade and competition concerns governing any business engaging in labor negotiations.

  4. So in a nutshell pending appeal the league as a whole is off the hook but 9 of it’s member clubs are not and the other 23 may follow.
    ==========
    I think you misread. 9 individual players are allowed to pursue certain charges. Not necessarily against nine clubs.

  5. thekillernacho says:
    May 16, 2017 3:48 PM

    I think you misread. 9 individual players are allowed to pursue certain charges. Not necessarily against nine clubs.
    ______________________

    You are correct, I did misread it. Nonetheless it does stand to reason that the number of teams and cases may multiply as a result of this ruling. Some of the alleged activity goes back to the wild and woolly 80’s, this may et be a very bumpy ride

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